Schrenker pleads guilty to fraud charges


Hamilton County - The former Geist money manager who admitted crashing his plane to fake his own death is now also admitting that he swindled his clients.

Marcus Schrenker pleaded guilty to five counts of securities fraud and is now headed to prison. He'll spend up to ten years in prison and he'll also have to pay at least $633,000 to investors.

Schrenker has also pleaded guilty to federal charges of crashing his plane. He's already received a four-year sentence for that offense.

Schrenker's exploits became worldwide headlines after he jumped from a plane in a bid to fake his death as he ran from business and personal problems. Wednesday, he was inmate 368 who pleaded guilty again to defrauding five Indiana investors out of over $660,000. For that, he'll likely be sentenced Oct. 7th to ten years in prison.

"That's followed by four years of probation. The question will be whether or not he serves this sentence consecutively or concurrently with his federal sentence. Obviously we're taking the position that he should serve this consecutively," said Jeff Wehmueller, Hamilton County deputy prosecutor. "We will make the argument the court does not have the authority to make them concurrent."

Schrenker was already sentenced in Florida after he parachuted from his plane in January 2009. It crashed in Florida, where he was caught.

Schrenker told the judge Wednesday that he suffered bipolar disorder since childhood. His wife Michelle was also in court hours before her appearance on a television show "Who the (bleep) did I marry?"

Neither Schrenker nor his attorney were amused.

"He is sad that this day comes on the heels of his wife doing an unfortunate interview," said Chad Hill, defense attorney. "I think there is a curiously strange dynamic between her and Marcus."

Schrenker called WTHR's Scott Swan from the Hamilton County Jail late Tuesday to say, "I am deeply disappointed with Michelle's decision. I feel that this will bring undue scrutiny, ridicule and embarrassment to our children who have already suffered a lifetime of pain. It is my hope that Michelle will donate the proceeds from this venture to reimburse the investors to whom we had a joint responsibility to protect."

They shared the good life and the reigns of the company, and although he is the one in jail for it, she shared in the pain of losing most of their possessions at auction to help pay back investors.

While the estranged couple's lives have taken on a soap opera quality, there are victims that Schrenker conned with $30 million in claims filed against him. It's a spectacular fall from the picture of power couple Marcus and Michelle Schrenker in front of their Lexus, with a small plane in the background. Schrenker now admits in court that he betrayed the trust of many, and is prepared to accept his punishment.

A court-appointed receiver said sales of Schrenker's property this summer brought in about $595,000 to pay back victims. That's about $35,000 short of what Schrenker agreed to pay.

That does not include the $900,000 that a Florida judge ordered him to pay for crashing his plane in a swamp.

Also, Schrenker lost millions of dollars from lawsuits in recent years. It's not clear how much, if anything, he paid on those lawsuits.

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(Chris Proffitt and David MacAnally contributed to this story.)