Fugitive banker Aubrey Lee Price pleads guilty to fraud

By Kyle Johnson,

A fugitive banker who faked his own death after embezzling $21 million from Montgomery Bank & Trust in Georgia in order to avoid prison for bank fraud pleaded guilty on Thursday as part of a plea deal.

Aubrey Lee Price pleaded guilty to securities, bank and wire fraud, and will face a possible 30-year prison sentence and must pay $51 million in restitution, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. As part of the deal, 14 other charges were dropped.

Price spent investors' and bank funds on risky trading that failed to pan out, requiring him use more of the bank's money in an attempt to get it all bank. The bank eventually was forced to shutter after the heavy losses.

In an attempt to avoid prosecution, Price was thought to have committed suicide by jumping off a ferry he was witnessed boarding in Florida's Key West in 2012. He was legally declared dead by a Florida court, but discovered during a routine track stop on Dec. 31, 2013.

The restitution part of the plea deal partially relates to paying back the U.S. Coast Guard for the costs associated with searching for Price after his "suicide attempt" two years ago, according to WSAV. His lawyer admitted that it isn't exactly clear how Price would be able to pay.

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