Lee Price appeared in federal court, but said little other than answering yes and no questions from Judge James Graham.
A U.S. Marshal told the judge Price claimed he was homeless and had performed manual labor jobs for cash over the past 18 months to survive.
He is accused of embezzling $21 million from Montgomery Bank and Trust before it was closed by the FDIC. Prosecutors said Price and a group of investors put $10 million in MB&T back in 2010.
Price disappeared in June of 2012 and left a note saying he planned to kill himself by jumping from a boat off Key West. His wife and family had him declared legally dead, but did not collect any insurance payments because of the federal investigation.
Several people in court Thursday identified themselves as family members but would not specify their relation to Price. They showed little outward emotion at seeing Price.
His life on the run ended Tuesday when two Glynn County Sheriff's deputies stopped Price for violations on I-95.
Deputies Justin Juliano and Brian Faulk reported Price's Dodge pickup had an expired tag, a cracked windshield and excessive window tinting.
"He was incredibly nervous when we stopped him," Juliano said. "His hands were shaking. He had a license in his hand, but was looking through papers for his ID. I finally had to point out that I wanted the ID that he already had in his hand."
One ID card had a picture other than his. The second had his picture, but different information.
"He said he got the fake ID at a flea market, but couldn't explain why. There's no good reason for a 47-year-old man to have a fake ID," he added.
The deputies delivered Price to the Glynn County Jail. That's when he finally came clean.
"He asked if we really wanted to know who he was, and I told him yes. That's when he said 'I'll make you famous' and he told us his real name," Juliano said.
Federal agents will continue trying to find the missing money and put together pieces of the puzzle Price left behind. His next appearance in court will be in federal magistrate court in Savannah on Monday.
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