BULLETIN: SEC Says Missing Man Was Mastermind Of $40 Million Fraud In Georgia In Which ‘Substantially All’ Of A Bank’s Reserves Were Misappropriated And Lost In Trading; Persons With Info Asked To Call FBI Or Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office
BULLETIN: The SEC has gone to federal court in Atlanta, alleging that Aubrey Lee Price masterminded a $40 million investment fraud and that Price might have misappropriated millions of dollars from a “failing” bank in southern Georgia after a company he controlled bought a stake in the bank in 2010.
The alleged misappropriation involved “substantially all” of the bank’s reserves, which were lost in trading, the SEC said.
In June, some investors received a 22-page letter attributed to Price in which Price allegedly “admits that he ‘falsified statements with false returns’ in order to conceal between $20-23 million dollars in investor losses,” the SEC said.
Price, 46, was believed to be living in Lowndes County, Ga., after moving there from Manatee County, Fla. But Price has gone missing, the SEC said.
“Price raised nearly $40 million from investors and made woeful financial transactions that he hid from them,” said William P. Hicks, associate director of the SEC’s Atlanta Regional Office. “Now both the money and Price are missing.”
Price managed an unregistered investment fund that went by the name of PFG LLC of McDonough, Ga., the SEC said.
U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten Sr. has issued an asset freeze and temporary restraining order, the SEC said.
The scheme began in 2008 and affected at least 100 investors in Georgia and Florida, the SEC said.
“Price purported to invest fund assets in traditional marketable securities, but he also made illiquid investments in South America real estate and a troubled South Georgia bank,” the SEC said. “In order to conceal mounting losses of investor funds, Price created bogus account statements with false account balances and returns that were provided to investors and bank regulators.”
Price also was associated with an entity known as PFGBI through which the banking investment was made, the SEC said.
But the “investment in the bank is substantially worthless, as the bank’s cash assets have been substantially depleted and substantially all of the bank’s reserves (including U.S. treasuries and other liquid assets) were misappropriated by Price and lost in trading,” the SEC charged.
“Goldman Sach’s records document at least $10 million in unexplained funds being transferred by Price from the bank to a trading account at Goldman Sachs,” the SEC said.
Persons with information on his whereabouts should contact the Atlanta office of the FBI at 404-679-9000 or the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office at 229-671-2985, the SEC said.