In the end, Aubrey Lee Price couldn't run from himself.
The former pastor and banker, 47, faked his death in June 2012 after getting caught embezzling millions of dollars from investors.
He sent suicide notes to his family and friends, then boarded a ferry in Key West, Florida, and disappeared.
He was arrested 18 months later in Georgia, after a routine traffic stop.
Price revealed details of those lost months in a series of jailhouse interviews with Charles Bethea, a freelance reporter for Atlanta Magazine and Esquire.com.
Bethea met with Price four times, talking with him for about 10 hours total. Click here to read the article.
“He would veer from this ‘woe is me’ desperation and sadness to this sort of attempts at humor,” Bethea said.
Price said his initial months in hiding were the toughest, with much of his time spent reading the Bible, working out and writing.
“The first month and a half it was just trying to survive, trying to think, ‘Can I get my mind back?’” Price said, according to an audio recording released by Bethea. “I had no desire to even be on the earth.”
Bethea said Price made his way to South America after getting off the ferry, working for a friend of a friend -- a cocaine trafficker.
“I didn’t know he had the operation, so when I walked back in this room it’s obvious, there’s 30 to 40 workers, they’re stuffing little bags full of white powder,” Price said in audio released by Bethea.
Price was hopeful he could make money and eventually pay back the people he defrauded, Bethea said. Back in the States, Price learned to make fake IDs and used as many as six false names.
“I was a fugitive. I wasn’t gonna tell anybody my real ID,” Price said, according to Bethea.
On Dec. 31, 2013, police in Glynn County, Georgia, pulled over a driver because of a window tint violation.
“I remember saying, ‘Lord, where are you?’ Then I looked up and there were blue lights behind me. Thanks, Lord. That’s where you are,” Price said, according to Bethea.
After the police discovered a fake license, Price came clean, revealing his true identity.
Bethea said Price told him there was relief when the law finally caught up with him.
Price remains jailed in Bulloch County, Georgia. He pleaded guilty in June to three counts of fraud. The plea deal calls for a maximum of 30 years in prison and $51 million in restitution.
Through his father, Price released a statement challenging Bethea’s reporting -- and said he remains focused on helping to pay back the investors he defrauded.
“Charles Bethea does not have and has never been given permission to speak on my behalf. He does not represent my story accurately and has violated both verbal and written agreements regarding interviews in February 2014,” the statement read. “Recent articles by him and others have been malicious and mean spirited and have taken important events and stories entirely out of context. My main concern, as it has always been, is helping former clients achieve full restitution and I continue to diligently work with authorities to accomplish this goal.”
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