Aubrey Lee Price, a former preacher and investment adviser, was sentenced to 70 years in prison on Tuesday by a U.S federal court after pleading guilty earlier this year to defrauding clients and his own bank. He will serve the sentences for his three charges concurrently with a maximum of 30 years.
Mr. Price pleaded guilty in June to one count each of bank fraud, wire fraud and securities fraud. As part of a plea agreement, he is expected to pay his victims about $50 million in restitution, but the final details of those payments have not yet been determined.
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In June 2012, Mr. Price faked his own death and vanished but was arrested alive at a traffic stop after 18 months. Following his disappearance prosecutors had accused him of embezzling millions of dollars from his clients and Montgomery Bank & Trust, a small bank that he and a group of investors had taken over during the state’s banking crisis.
U.S. Attorney Edward J. Tarver of the Southern District of Georgia commented in a statement: “The sentence imposed today reflects the magnitude of Aubrey Lee Price’s fraud. Price engaged in a staggering betrayal of trust, leaving his elderly investors practically penniless, and at the same time, contributing to the collapse of a federally insured bank. For his crimes, Price richly deserves the heavy sentence handed down today by the Court.”
According to the authorities, Mr. Price defrauded more than 100 individuals who had invested $51 million in two investment funds he managed between June 2009 and June 2012. He lost almost all of that money by “speculative trading” and tried to cover up the losses by posting online forged account statements.