'Dead' Fugitive Banker Allegedly Growing Marijuana Plants in Hiding

Aubrey Lee Price, 47, had disappeared for 18 months.

January 04, 2014, 12:19 PM

Jan. 4, 2013 — -- Aubrey Lee Price, the former banker who faked his own death and is accused of $21 million in wire fraud before his 2012 disappearance, was allegedly found to be growing marijuana in a Florida house where he was staying.

Price, 47, was stopped while driving on I-95 in Glynn County, Ga., on Wednesday for a tinted window violation, according to police. Officers said that it was clear Price was giving them false information during the stop, and were soon able to determine he was wanted by the FBI.

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On Wednesday drug enforcement officers in Marion County, Fla. were called by a neighbor, who reported seeing marijuana plants in a nearby house. After police investigated the home they found 225 marijuana plants along with evidence that the neighbor renting the house, and known as "Jason," was actually Aubrey Lee Price.

The drug task force obtained a search warrant and removed 225 marijuana plants, so that was quite a thriving little grow house there," Marion County Sheriff Captain James Pogue said in his daily crime report.

Detectives from Marion County plan to travel to Georgia to interview Price, Pogue told the Associated Press.

Price, a former banker originally from Lyons, Ga., is alleged to have funneled approximately $21 million of money held at Montgomery Bank & Trust in Ailey, Ga., to security accounts. He then falsely represented the securities account balances to conceal his theft of funds or his trading losses, according to the FBI.

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Price disappeared in June 2012 after leaving a rambling suicide note, where he admitted he had lost a large amount of money through trading activities and he was planning to kill himself by jumping from a ferry boat off the Florida coast.

Before his arrest on Tuesday, Price was last seen boarding a ferry boat in Key West, Fla., bound for Fort Myers, Fla.,. Although a Florida judge officially ruled that Price was dead a year ago, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation never stopped searching for him, and had offered a $20,000 reward for his arrest.

Price was also married with children at the time of his disappearance. His family has not been charged with any crime related to his disappearance.

Following his arrest, Price has told authorities he had worked odd jobs and as a migrant worker, according to the AP. He told police he had returned to Georgia to renew the tag on his truck, an FBI spokesman said Wednesday.

One of the deputies who arrested Price Tuesday, Deputy Justin Juliano from the Glynn County Sheriff's Department, told ABC News affiliate WJXX-TV that Price told him that the arrest would make Juliano "famous."

When asked by reporters if Juliano believed Price when he said he was wanted by the FBI, the deputy said yes, because "if you could literally see someone have a weight lifted off their shoulders. That's what it looked like."

ABC News' Kevin Dolak and the Associated Press have contributed to this report.

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