Missing Bradenton banker indicted for fraud

HERALD STAFF REPORTJanuary 26, 2013 

A former Bradenton banker missing since he admitted losing millions of investors' funds in June 2012 has been formally indicted on securities and wire fraud charges.

According to the indictment announced Friday by the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Aubrey Lee Price managed investment funds. Beginning in 2009, he raised an estimated $40 million from more than 100 investors across the United States.

Price, 46, apparently lost $17 million in various equity securities, options and real estate, including farms in South America, a Justice Department news release said.

To cover up his losses, Price allegedly lied to his investors by posting fake account statements on a website that fraudulently reflected fictitious assets and fabricated investment returns, documents say.

Price lived with his wife and children in Bradenton but bought a home last year

in Valdosta, Ga., according to authorities. Records at the Manatee County Property Appraiser's Office listed him as the owner of a condominium on El Conquistador Parkway. Price had moved his family to the south Georgia city, where his wife's parents live, just a few weeks before he disappeared.

Price sent a letter to acquaintances in mid-June 2012 in which he admitted that he had lost a large amount of investor money through trading activities and that he planned to kill himself by jumping from a ferry to Key West.

But authorities found surveillance videos they say show Price in Key West on the day he disappeared. One video shows Price leaving the Key West airport on June 16 and getting into a taxi with a small rolling suitcase. The second shows Price rolling the suitcase across a ferry terminal waiting area to a counter where he appears to have a short exchange with someone.

His relatives have told investigators they believe he's dead, but investigators have said circumstantial evidence suggests he's still alive.

"Through this web of deception, Price acted to create the image of a successful investor. When that image was shown to be a lie, he then orchestrated his confession and disappearance. We are using every resource available to locate him and recover the funds he stole," said U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch in the news release.

If convicted, Price faces a maximum prison sentence of 30 years for wire fraud and 25 years for securities fraud.

Anyone with information regarding Price's whereabouts or the alleged crime is urged to contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation office in New York at 212-384-1000 or at ny1@ic.fbi.gov.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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