Feds looking for banker in Georgia embezzlement case

When it comes to embezzlement, few cases in recent years seem to have garnered as much national interest as the story with a strong Georgia nexus that is currently playing out in news articles across the country.

Federal authorities are offering a $20,000 reward for information that will help them apprehend Aubrey Lee Price, the former manager of a New York brokerage firm who took over bank operations at a Georgia bank purchased by his company in 2010.

The FBI contends that Price is guilty of a massive bank fraud, namely, fraudulent misappropriation of approximately $17 million in funds from investors at the Montgomery Bank & Trust in Ailey, a small town in Montgomery County.

Authorities say that Price purchased stock with investors’ money and disguised his actions by providing false documents indicating that he was instead investing in Treasury bills.

“By creating bogus statements with falsified balances and returns, Mr. Price was able to hide mounting investment losses as well as his own monetary gain,” says an FBI agent investigating the matter.

If Price is found and convicted, he could face up to 30 years in prison. Investigators believe that he could presently be hiding somewhere in South America.

Many people will argue that few embezzlement cases seem to be as cut and dried as Price’s. Being convicted in the media, though, is a far different thing than being found guilty of a criminal charge in a court of law.

For strong reasons of justice and fundamental fairness, a presumption of innocence must always attach when all the facts are not known, when all the evidence has not been carefully examined by an experienced defense counsel, and when authorities have not yet proven their case before the public at trial.

Business transactions — especially bank matters — can be highly complex. Every person accused of embezzlement or another white collar crime is entitled to strong legal representation that fully promotes his or her best interests. In recognizing the critical importance of due process and individual liberty, our criminal justice system requires that.

Source: Fox News, “Georgia banker sought in $17M embezzlement scheme may be in South America,” Joshua Rhett Miller, July 11, 2012