Former Bank Director Charged with Securities and Wire Fraud
Defendant Has Been Missing Since Threatening to Commit Suicide in June 2012
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 25, 2013|
A former director of a Georgia bank who managed two private investment funds has been charged by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of New York with securities fraud and wire fraud. According to court documents, defendant Aubrey Lee 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 boat in Florida. Price remains missing. 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 email@example.com.
The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and George Venizelos, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), New York Field Office.
According to the indictment, Price managed investment funds PFG LLC (PFG) and the Montgomery Growth Fund (Montgomery Growth). Starting in or about June 2009, PFG raised approximately $40 million from approximately 115 investors from across the nation. Price unsuccessfully invested PFG funds in various equity securities, options, and real estate, including farms in South America. To cover up his losses, Price allegedly lied to his investors by posting fake account statements on a secure PFG website that fraudulently reflected fictitious assets and fabricated investment returns.
The indictment also states that, starting in or about January 2011, Price became a director of Montgomery Bank & Trust (MB&T), a financial institution in Ailey, Georgia. Price also invested some of the bank’s capital, which he told the bank’s management he would invest safely in U.S. Treasury securities. Instead, Price lost much of the bank’s money through risky investments in equity securities and options. Price also embezzled MB&T money to pay redemptions to some PFG investors. The indictment charges that Price covered up his embezzlement and losses of MB&T’s funds by giving the bank’s management fabricated documents falsely indicating that approximately $17 million was on deposit in the bank’s name at a large financial services firm in New York.
“As charged in the indictment, this defendant repeatedly abused the trust placed in him by his investors and MB&T by lying about his investment losses, fabricating documents, and embezzling bank funds. 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 Lynch.
FBI Assistant Director in Charge Venizelos stated, “As alleged, Price lied to investors about where their money would be invested and lied to them about the solvency of his company. He lied to the bank on whose board he served about investment of bank capital and lied again to cover up that lie. It is therefore reasonable to assume that Price’s talk of suicide was also a lie. The FBI is actively looking for Aubrey Lee Price.”
The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum prison sentence of 30 years for wire fraud and 25 years for securities fraud.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys David C. Woll, Jr., James McMahon, and Brian Morris.
This case was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency task force to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch and, with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.
Aubrey Lee Price