Anguish Aubrey Lee Price's wife year after he faked suicide
- Aubrey Lee Price arrested on Tuesday in Brunswick, Georgia, after faking his suicide in June 2012 when he was indicted over a $21m bank fraud
- Lawyer today described anguish his wife Rebekah and their four children have gone through
- Rebekah, a teacher living close to breadline, is grappling with torture of being happy he is alive after a year of grieving
- Living a life of shame, she also received abuse from those he conned
- She and four children found out he was alive from television news
- Rebekah, of Valdosta, Georgia, did not receive $1m life insurance despite him being declared legally dead last year
- She has got $800-a-month social security benefits
- She faced him down in court at his first appearance and is desperate to speak to him in prison
- Police today revealed he had been running a pot farm before he was stopped during routine police stop for having illegal tinted windows
By M L Nestel In Valdosta, Georgia
PUBLISHED: 19:15 EST, 3 January 2014 | UPDATED: 19:33 EST, 3 January 2014
The grieving widow and four children of a banker who defrauded $21m and faked his own suicide are living a nightmare after he was arrested this week alive and running a pot farm, it was revealed today.
Aubrey Lee Price, 47, was arrested this week during a routine traffic stop after officers spotted his windows were tinted too darkly.
Hours later, the FBI were told one of their Most Wanted white collar criminals had been caught.
Torture: Rebekah Price and her children have
been left reeling after finding out from television news and friends
that Aubrey Lee Price was alive - 18 months after they believed he had
jumped off a ferry
Rebekah and her four children have had to deal with the shame of his
crimes, abuse from those he conned but can't help but admit the kids are
happy that their father is alive after all
While the authorities celebrated, his shocked wife had her whole life was turned upside down once again.
Rebekah Price, 43, had grieved his loss since his disappearance on June 16, 2012. She had watched a court declare him legally dead months later - believing that he had committed suicide by leaping from a ferry into the Florida ocean.
That ruling had meant she was divorced. She had also suffered his public shame and abuse at the hands of those he had defrauded.
Mrs Price did not benefit from his life insurance, but instead had to scratch a living to provide for her children, aged from around ten to 20 years old. But she was surviving. She was doing it and the worst was behind her.
Then she received a phone call from a friend who was watching the news of her husband on television. He had been arrested in Brunswick, Georgia, just 100 miles away from the family home in Valdosta, Georgia, where she lives.
‘Can you imagine going through that?’ her lawyer John Holt told MailOnline during an extensive interview today. ‘Telling your children he's gone and then it's kind of a big swirling deal, it's a circus and the kids - now two years later it turns around and it's another nightmare for her and the family. I don't know how she's dealing with it.
'He disappeared cold turkey,’ Holt said. ‘There was never any hint he was still alive. We never heard anything.
'A friend called her saying "this just happened and you need to know". She wasn’t notified by law enforcement or anything like that.’
For the couple's children, the news of their father’s mortality is a mixed blessing, Holt said. ‘There is some happiness their father is alive.
'But it turns your heart as a mama and I think those are the things she's going through because, gosh, she doesn’t know his story yet.’
When Price vanished he had sent a suicide note to his family and friends that authorities chalked-up as a confession to his crimes.
He was indicted for embezzling more than $21m from a small bank in south Georgia where he worked. On top of that, he was accused of defrauding more than 100 clients of millions of dollars.
Mrs Price was sitting in the Glynn County criminal court on Thursday when her husband was brought in to face a raft of federal charges.
Contrast: Price, left, before his disappearance and right, after 18 months on the run living like a vagrant
Pot head: Marijuana plants were growing inside the rented home that Price was living in on the run
Price told arresting officers that he 'was going to make them famous'
after they rumbled him during a routine traffic stop for having tinted
windows that were too dark
He cut a very different figure from the slick banker she knew. Gone was a dress suit and instead he was in a blue jail jumpsuit, his hair shaggy and his skin tanned.
Holt said the two have yet to exchange a word.
‘She went over to the court, but she was unable to see him,’ he said. ‘She has not talked with him since all of this happened, so that he could tell her what had occurred.’
‘She wants answers. He left her children and they were crying aloud after their father committed suicide.’
Asked if the hardworking math teacher who is raising her four children by herself wants to remain married now that his appearance reverses her divorce, her lawyer said time will tell.
'Once he appears again in court we get this order set aside that he's not dead - which will happen here pretty quick in the next week or two - she's married to him and he's committed to her marriage spiritually.
‘Rebekah wants to gather all the information herself before she makes any decisions.'
It emerged that the once ‘charismatic Christian preacher’ had been living like a disheveled vagrant.
His Dodge pick-up truck had a silver sleeping bag in the back with a cinder block and a pair of blue jeans.
While it's not known exactly how Price survived under the radar - he claimed he was doing odd-jobs for cash - police have revealed that a house he rented in Marion County, Florida, was full of marijuana plants under lights. In all, 225 plants were removed.
‘Holy smoke,’ a shocked Holt said at the revelation. 'Rebekah’s emotions are flipping all over the place and I’m sure she knows about this now.’
Price was last seen on surveillance video in Key West, Florida, boarding a ferry to Fort Meyers. Despite a U.S. Coast Guard search costing over $173,000, his body was never found.
Six months later he was declared dead.
Rebekah and her children live in this modest home in Valdosta, Georgia.
Her lawyer said that the teacher has been scraping by since his death
and did not get a pay out from his $1m life insurance
Deceit: Price was last seen boarding a ferry in
Florida. He also sent two suicide notes showing his intention to jump
off. He was declared legally dead by a court last year, but the FBI
never believed he had killed himself
Just before Price’s arrest, his wife and her lawyer were beginning to pursue legal action to collect the life insurance policies frozen by a government-hired trustee.
‘There was some life insurance policies out there which was another thing I handled and we were in the process of discussing them. If we couldn't resolve them amicably we were going to proceed with a lawsuit.’
One of the policies Mrs Price was named on was for $300,000 and another for $1million, but her name was scratched shortly before her husband vanished and replaced with one of his shady companies.
'We were negotiating with them at the time he appears,’ Horn conceded. ‘My client is going to lose all of that now that he's turned up alive. On top of that she's got a husband now. I don't know if that's a burden or a bonus to her.’
After he vanished he left his wife, currently carpooling to and from a Gray Middle School in a neighboring county where she teaches math, to work several jobs to make ends meet.
‘She’s a teacher but she was working two to three jobs just to get by at one point, just to survive.
He added that she's also dedicated time at the local Boys and Girls club ‘teaching after school classes to kids.’
And she’s been living in a house with a steep mortgage that she’s managed to pay with aid of the Social Security checks that began coming in after her husband was officially deemed dead.
Holt said the mortgage was around $1600 a month which he says ‘she won’t be able to pay’ now that his reappearance forced her to stop any future Social Security payments.
‘It’s the right thing to do, but she’s about to be in severe financial distress again.’
As the government begins to mount its prosecution of the banker her lawyer said his wife has been co-operative with authorities and insisted she was completely in the dark over his crimes.
But that hasn't stopped her feeling the wrath of his victims.
‘Some of the preacher folks who invested their money were fairly hostile toward Rebekah,' said Holt.
The aspersions became so hot that the widow was fearing reprisals.
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