Transcript for Bank President Who Faked Death Charged With Fraud
Good evening. We have all had the fantasy if briefly escape your current life and start over. No responsibilities. No romanticing entanglements, no debts. All of it while chilling on a beach. Tonight the story of one man who not only had this fant sasy but went for it. Aubrey lee price, a businessman, faked his own death leaving behind a trail of victims from whom he stole millions. He's not the first person to try this. But now, the jig is up. The aubrey lee price who shuffled out of court was shackled with shaggy hair a far cry from this guy, the slick bible quoting bank director riding high a few years ago until he allegedly faked his own death and vanished. This is the last time anybody saw price alive on this surveillance video. Not long after he wrote this long rambling suicide note saying he would die and be buried in shame and regret. So why did he engineer this elaborate hoax. Federal investigators say he had 40 million reasons. He is a thief, and ape li liar. Windy cross is one of 115 investor whose lost a combined $40 million to price. The story starts in 2009, when price, a self described evangelical christian began raising money from investors. He was fraudulent, deceptive. And he used -- the christian faith, in his relationship with god as a front to all this. This man was a business partner who had no idea that price was losing money in the market and allegedly stealing it from a bank he took over after infusing it with investor fund. Fraud. This would be a huge fraud. Reporter: Prosecutors say price stole, misappropriated and embezzled millions of dollars much of it directly into his own pockets. You had no inkling. None, absolutely none. Reporter: In 2012 the bank closed down, money was gone including $300,000, wenty cross put in. Not just of my money, but my dreams, and my future, and my freedom. Gone. Reporter: Before they could arrest him though, price disappeared. Sending acquaintances this long, rambling suicide note, saying, it is the pain which I have caused that makes life too difficult to exist. Waking up in my world has no appeal whatsoever. The letter was riddled with spelling errors and bristling with bible citations including better is a little with righteousness than great income with injustice. Just a month after the suicide note, however, price turned up on this surveillance tape, released by the fbi at the airport in key west, florida, and then, the ferry terminal. Lead us to believe there is a high likelihood the suicide was fake. He was planning the exit for a very long time. He is a very, very smart, smart, individual, you know, this is -- too bad that it was -- used for such evil. A year ago. A judge declared p to be legally dead. The fbi didn't buy it. Issuing a $20,000 reward, and searching as far away as venezuela where price owned property. Meanwhile his investors were left hoping price would somehow be found with their money. I hope they find him. I heope that he suffers. And I hope that he sees some of this path of financial carnage that he has left behind. Aubrey lee price is not the first person to attempt this sort of disappearing act. In fact, just weeks after price vanished, raymond roth took his son, john, to this beach in new york. He took his shirt off. Took his shoes off even. The father then told the son, to sound the alarm, saying his dad went for a swim, and then went missing. I called my stepmom. I've don't know where he is. Dad went into the water and never came out. John roth, called 911, a massive search-and-rescue effort ensued. All crying on the beach. Maybe he had a heart attack. The undertow. Then his wife learned that raymond cleared out their bank accounts. Next she discovered secret e-mails he sent his son indicating he was very much alive. I'm like, I can't believe it. He is alive. We have to call the authorities. Reporter: She did. Shortly there after, raymond was busted. But he pled guilty to conspiracy, got a short jail term. What were you running from? Now is the time to apologize. Then the case of olivia newton's john, former partner, patrick McDermott who disappeared from a fishing charter boat, in june of 2005. Private investigators allege, McDERMOTT DID NOT DROWN BUT Staged his disappearance to got out of debt and say they found him alive and living in mexico. There is also michael ward, who was removed as commander of the uss pittsburgh, after the navy conclude heed fd he faked his own death to end an extramarital affair. Relieved of his duties but honorably discharged. And sam israel, sentenced to 22 years for defrauding investors out of $400 million. He drove his suv to a bridge in new york. Wrote the word, suicide is painless on the hood and rode a scooter to an rv he had parked nearby. A month later he turned himself in. Former nypd detective, nick cassel says there is a reason most people get busted. In the digital age, how hard is it to go underground? For the amateur, all but impossible. First thing you have to ditch is your atm card, credit card, and your cell phone. You can't travel by air because you need identification. You can't rent a car. You can't renew your driver's license. Which brings us back to our banker, aubrey lee price. After 18 months of successfully avoiding authorities, he was busted in a routine traffic stop on interstate 95 in georgia, on new year's eve. The reason for the stop. The tinted windows on his vehicle were too dark. Is it surprising to you that after 18 months on the lam, he was brought down by a routine traffic stop? The routine. You become comfortable. You become a little secure in your new I dent team. Fr -- your new identity. You fail to perceive the dangers. This officer was smart enough to run him. Then determined he was wanted and apprehended him. Reporter: He allegedly used fake names which made sir rideputies suspicious. They were doing their job, what is required, they looked beyond the ticket. The guy was wanted by the fbi now he will be answering to the people that he is alleged and taken the money from. Once under arrest, listen to what price told the deputies. He told them, sit down. He will make them famous. What he told them in the back. The same line that emelio estevez used before killing people in young guns 2. In court, one official told the judge. Price claimed he had been homeless before his arrest working as a migrant worker and accepting cash for odd jobs. He insisted his family didn't know he was alive. And that he would return to georgia to renew the tags on his truck. However, price was, not apparently homeless. After he was arrested. Police in ocala, florida, raided the apartment he had been renting and removed 225 marijuana plants from a guy who once marketed himself as a trust worthy devout christian. A great, great way to start newt year for us. As for wenty cross. Who lost all the money she had been saving since age 22. Him being caught, gives you faith that, that, if you just hold the faith, keep the faith, that good overcomes evil. If he is convicted. Price is looking at 30 years behind bars. For more stories of elaborate attempts to pull the wool over people's eyes in all sorts of ways. Catch the big lie on "20/20" tomorrow night here on abc.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.