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After Months On The Run, Former Georgia Banker Is Arrested

A former Georgia banker who vanished while under suspicion for stealing millions of dollars appeared in court Thursday, after being arrested during a traffic stop this week. The man had been presumed dead after his mysterious disappearance 18 months ago.

NPR's Debbie Elliott reports for our Newscast unit:

"Deputies in south Georgia picked up 47-year-old Aubrey Lee Price for a traffic violation on New Year's Day. Now he's in jail, charged with embezzling $21 million from Montgomery Bank and Trust, the bank he ran in tiny Ailey, Ga.

"Price disappeared after boarding a ferry in Key West in the summer of 2012. He reportedly left a rambling suicide note. A Florida court declared him dead a year ago.

"He appeared before a federal judge in Brunswick, Ga., Thursday, to formally face the embezzlement charges. A U.S. marshal told the judge that Price said he was homeless and lived as a migrant worker. A bond hearing is set for Monday."

Price disappeared last June, just before he was indicted on charges of embezzlement. His suicide note allegedly contains an admission that he cheated the bank and its investors.

"If convicted on the bank fraud charge in Georgia, Price faces a maximum 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine," reports WSAV TV news in Savannah.

It seems that Price was initially pulled over on Interstate 95 as he drove a 2001 Dodge, "on suspicion that its windows were too darkly tinted," The Atlanta Journal-Constitutionreports,citing the sheriff in Glynn County.

Deputies arrested Price after finding fake IDs in the vehicle, the newspaper reports.

Other troubles may be looming for Price, ranging from federal wire fraud charges to civil lawsuits from the bank's investors.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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