BRUNSWICK, Ga. -- A former Valdosta banker who the FBI had sought since June 2012 on wire and security fraud charges is in the Glynn County jail after a routine traffic stop for a window tint violation, the Glynn County sheriff said.
Patrol deputies Brian Faulk and Justin Juliano stopped a 2006 Dodge Ram pickup truck on Interstate 95 north of Brunswick Tuesday morning because of its heavily tinted windows, Sheriff Neal Jump said.
The driver was found to have several identifications with differing photos, the sheriff said.
“He was placed under arrest basically because he was a John Doe,” Jump said.
Faced with the possibility of remaining jailed for as long as it took to learn his true identity, the suspect finally relented and identified himself as Aubrey Lee Price, 47, who is wanted by the FBI, Jump said.
“He said, ‘Sit down. I’m going to make you famous,’ “ Jump said. “He was tired. I reckon he was ready to get caught.”
The U.S. Marshal’s Service has filed a federal retainer with the Sheriff’s Office on behalf of the FBI, Jump said.
Price, who lived in Valdosta, will appear before a U.S. magistrate Thursday morning.
He had told acquaintances in 2012 that he had lost a lot of money in trading activities and planned to kill himself by jumping off a ferry. He was last seen June 16, 2012, in Key West boarding a ferry bound for Fort Myers, Fla., an FBI wanted poster says.
He was known to have bought dive weights before boarding the ferry and wasn’t seen getting off the boat, but the captain said no one saw him jump and the trip was made in broad daylight.
Although a Georgia judge declared Price dead, the FBI asserted that the former pastor was still alive and cited his past mission work in Venezuela and Guatemala where he had been known to fund and build churches.
Shortly after his disappearance, a warrant was issued charging Price with mail fraud.
A federal grand jury in Savannah indicted Price in July 2012 on charges he defrauded the Montgomery Bank & Trust of Ailey, Ga., of $21 million.
The indictment says that in 2010 Price controlled a group that invested about $10 million in the failing bank.
He was made a director and put in charge of investing the bank’s capital, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
From January 2011 to June 2012 he misappropriated and embezzled about $21 million from the Montgomery Bank & Trust and covered it up by providing his superiors with “bogus account statements” that said the money was being safely held at a large financial services firm, the indictment says.
An indictment returned in the Eastern District of New York says Price committed fraud through accounts he set up in Sarasota and Bradenton, Fla., where he had lived. A receiver for the Securities and Exchange Commission has seized real estate that Price owned in Sarasota, Bradenton and Longboat Key.
If convicted on the bank fraud charge in Georgia, Price faces a maximum 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Price’s arrest provides some justification for Jump’s decision to outfit two of his cars as patrol units, for which he was criticized by some county commissioners.
The sheriff’s main duties are to operate the jail, provide security and services at the courts and to serve civil papers. The separate Glynn County Police Department typically handles enforcement.
Jump said Tuesday the patrols have produced a lot of window tint, seat belt and other violations, but that Price’s arrest is the biggest thus far.