Ex-money manager who faked his own death agrees to plead guilty to securities fraud in Indiana

By Charles Wilson, AP
Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ex-money manager to plead guilty to Indiana fraud

INDIANAPOLIS — A former money manager convicted of trying to fake his own death in a Florida plane crash has agreed to plead guilty to securities fraud charges in Indiana.

Marcus Schrenker could face 10 years in prison in exchange for pleading guilty to five of 11 counts under a proposed plea agreement with Hamilton County prosecutors.

He could also be required to pay more than $600,000 in restitution. Schrenker is accused of bilking friends, family members and other investors of more than $1 million.

A hearing on the deal is set for Sept. 15 in Hamilton Superior Court in the Indianapolis suburb of Noblesville. A judge still has to accept Schrenker’s plea before the agreement can take effect.

The only remaining dispute is whether Schrenker should serve his Indiana sentence at the same time as a four-year federal sentence out of Florida, Jeff Wehmueller, administrative chief deputy prosecutor in Hamilton County, said Thursday.

“He wants it to run concurrently, and I think otherwise,” Wehmueller said. “We believe there is a solid legal argument for consecutive.”

Schrenker’s defense attorney, Chadwick Hill, told The Indianapolis Star his client decided to plead guilty because he wants to quickly put this chapter of his life behind him.

“Marcus has had a lot of time to reflect on where he is and why he’s there,” Hill said.

Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita said he was pleased that Schrenker has agreed to a plea deal because it will help bring justice to his victims.

In a statement, Rokita said that if a judge accepts the plea, “Schrenker will be serving this prison sentence in the prime of his life, just desserts for what he has done.”

Schrenker was sentenced last year to four years in federal prison for a January 2009 Florida plane crash in which he tried to fake his own death.

Schrenker was arrested at a Florida campground in January 2009, two days after officials say he put his plane on autopilot and bailed out over Alabama to flee personal and financial problems. The plane crashed about 200 miles away.

He has claimed he was under psychiatric care and on medication for more than a year beforehand. He said he had been mentally incompetent due to stress and a prescription drug problem.

Under the agreement filed Aug. 10, Schrenker would agree to undergo psychiatric treatment as ordered by his probation officer and not to offer financial advice or work in financial management.

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