Is he dead-or on the lam? That's the question being asked by federal law enforcement authorities about vanished Georgia money manager Aubrey Lee Price, accused by the SEC of having orchestrated "a $40 million investment fraud."
The missing financier told associates in a June letter that he planned to kill himself off the coast of Florida by jumping from a ferry boat, according to FBI special agent Michael Howard. The Atlanta Journal Constitution yesterday reported that Price last was seen in Key West, Fla., hopping a ferry to Ft. Myers.
"Despite a recent search by the Coast Guard, Price's body has not been recovered," agent Howard states in a June 28 affidavit seeking a warrant for Price's arrest.
The SEC says Price raised money from more than 100 investors in Georgia and Florida by selling shares in an unregistered investment fund Price managed. Though Price purported to make investments in traditional securities, says the SEC, he also made "illiquid investments in South America real estate and a troubled South Georgia bank."
He concealed "massive trading losses," the SEC alleges, by creating bogus account statements with false balances.
On or around June 18, according to FBI and SEC documents, Price sent several persons a 22-page letter titled "Confidential Confession For Regulators," in which he admitted he had falsified statements and created false returns to conceal $20 million to $23 million in investment losses.
On July 3 , the SEC announced it had frozen Price's accounts.
Agent Howard says Price is known to have traveled frequently to Venezuela and Guatemala; and further, that Price may own a boat large enough to travel from Florida to Venezuela.
The FBI asks anyone with information about Price's whereabouts to contact its Atlanta office at (404) 679-9000.