Bank investor reacts to Lee Price in court - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Investor victim never thought fugitive banker was dead

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Frank Brantley was among the local investors who pumped $4 million into Montgomery Bank and Trust back in 2010. Frank Brantley was among the local investors who pumped $4 million into Montgomery Bank and Trust back in 2010.
MOUNT VERNON, GA (WTOC) -

Frank Brantley was among the local investors who pumped $4 million into Montgomery Bank and Trust back in 2010.

He felt the community needed its back to survive. He also saw promise in the numbers he was shown.

"They showed us the assets and liabilities and we felt, if there was more cash infused into the bank, it could stay solvent into the future," he said.

Those numbers included $10 million brought into the bank by a group of investors from Atlanta led by Lee Price.

Price became a director of the bank. Price disappeared in 2012 and investigations afterward showed $21 million missing and discrepencies in Price's previous reports.

"How he got his hands on all of it and what he did with it, I'll never know,"Brantley said with a sigh.

He has heard the range of rumors circulated since Price disappeared, leaving notes that he planned to kill himself in South Florida.

He never believed Price was dead, even after a Florida judge granted Price's wife's request that he be declared legally dead last year. 

"I never thought he was dead. I figured he was down in South America or some place," he stated.

As for the money, he's not certain where it is or if it still exists.

"It could be that he lost it all in investments and used the rest to pay off all his debts. It could be that its stashed away somewhere, but I kinda doubt it," he explained.

As Price's prosecution begins, Brantley is worried the group he called the major investors, those in Atlanta who invested with Price, may get the most attention in efforts to recoup the missing money. He said he and the local minority investors may be forgotten.

"Some of us that sacrificed our life savings to infuse cash into that bank, surely the powers that be would see to it that we get at least some of our money back," he hoped.

Price's attorney entered a not guilty plea at his magistrate hearing Wednesday.

Judge G.R. Smith denied bond. Price will continue to be held at the Bulloch County jail.

His attorney requested 20 days to begin reviewing prosecutors evidence. Judge Smith did not set a date for Price's next appearance.

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