A Georgia banker suspected of embezzling $17 million before vanishing last month reportedly was last seen buying a ferryboat ticket in Key West.
In a case with all the trappings of a Carl Hiaasen novel, Aubrey Lee Price, the former director of the Montgomery Bank Trust, reportedly left a note for friends and family stating he lost a lot of money through financial trading and planned to kill himself, according to the FBI and Associated Press reports.
The bank was closed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Group on Friday, according to the FBI.
According to a CBS News report, Price wrote to his family saying he was going to Key West. As a result of that letter, Georgia law enforcement officials and the FBI asked the Key West Police Department be on the lookout for the 46-year-old banker, who was charged with wire fraud on June 28.
On June 16, that request apparently paid off. A person who appears to be Price was seen buying a ticket on the Key West Express ferry to Fort Myers. It is not known whether Price actually boarded the ferry.
Key West police provided investigators with surveillance video taken at the ferry terminal and, interestingly, at a Key West dive shop, where a man matching Price's description is seen buying diving weights, said city spokeswoman Alyson Crean.
Price was last seen wearing a white T-shirt, tan shorts, a maroon baseball cap and light-colored sneakers, according to the FBI. He also has a scar on his left knee.
Crean said Key West police assisted in the missing person portion of the case, and have no further involvement.
"That's been our role up to this point, and if they need anything more we will continue to assist them," she said.
The purchase of dive weights has led some to speculate that Price made good on his suicide pledge.
A story in The International Business Times suggests Price may have jumped to his death on the ferry, but Coast Guard searches in June turned up no body in the Gulf of Mexico, said Coast Guard District 7 spokesman Lt. John Paul Rios. District 7 includes Miami and Monroe County.
"We did launch two aircraft, but we didn't find anything so we subsequently suspended our search," Rios said.
ABC News reported that Price has ties to Florida, and has access to a large boat.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to Price's arrest, and asks that anyone with information call 404-679-9000.