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Schrenker plans book about plane crash

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Marcus Schrenker

David MacAnally/Eyewitness News

Fishers - Former investment advisor Marcus Schrenker is writing a book and says a movie deal could be next.

Schrenker is charged with bilking clients out of more than a million dollars. His book will tell his story and also talk about his bipolar disorder.

Several films about con men have hit the big screen. Leonardo DiCaprio starred as Frank Abignale in "Catch Me If You Can" and Richard Gere played Clifford Irving, who faked a Howard Hughes book. Both real-life men were convicted, went to prison and sparked popular books that became major motion pictures.

Could Schrenker be next?

"This is a terribly unique story," said Kevin Gray with Author Solutions, a Bloomington-based publishing house. "You've got the whole money markets issues and truly a unique aspect with that plane crash."

Gray is not connected with any Schrenker tell-all book. But, he says, from the alleged fraud to bailing out of his plane to fake his death provides an intriguing plot.

"This is his opportunity, his chance to tell his side of the story," Gray said.

He says it is a unique story that, if well written, could sell and go Hollywood.

"First question you have to ask is, does anyone want to read what this guy has to say?" asked Indianapolis attorney Jonathan Polak.

Polak sued O.J. Simpson on behalf of murder victim Ron Goldman to collect a civil judgment.

"There is no law prohibiting anyone from sitting in jail and writing their life story. The issue here is whether they collect the money from that and keep it," Polak said.

Under Indiana law, 90 percent of money from those deals goes to victims, with the state keeping the rest. They would have to file a claim. The Godlmans won control of Simpson's book in court.

But if Schrenker is found not guilty, any book or movie proceeds would be his to keep. If he's broke, he could also ask the court to let him tap into any funds from the book or film deal to defend himself.

From the Associated Press:

A former money manager says he plans to write a book about his attempt to flee personal and financial problems in Indiana, which ended with him parachuting from a plane that later crashed into a Florida swamp.

Marcus Schrenker told The Times of Munster in a jailhouse interview that the book will focus heavily on bipolar disorder, which he says he was diagnosed with while a student at Purdue University.

Schrenker said he had been secretly seeking treatment for mental health issues for more than four years and paid cash so his wife, Michelle, wouldn't know.

Schrenker faces a March trial in Indiana on 11 felony charges alleging he bilked friends, family members and other investors of more than $1 million. He was sentenced in August to four years in federal prison on charges stemming from the Florida crash.

Skip Beyer, a Fishers-based counselor who began treating Schrenker nearly two years ago, said Schrenker fits the profile of someone with bipolar disorder. He said the money manager showed alternating signs of anger and irritability, followed by bouts of depression.

"He said on a number of occasions he was going to crash his plane into a mountain and end it all," Beyer said.

Prosecutors contend Schrenker is a habitual liar. In court records, they note he told his stepmother in a telephone call after the Jan. 11 crash that he'd lost his left arm and that in a 2008 deposition for a Georgia lawsuit he testified under oath that he suffered from multiple sclerosis.

"For a man like this, it is not that unbelievable to think he would try get away by faking his death," Florida prosecutors said in court records.

Schrenker claimed he spent time at a Merrillville mental health facility when he was 12. A spokeswoman for Southlake Center for Mental Health declined to confirm or deny whether he had been a patient, citing privacy laws.

Schrenker told the newspaper he sometimes regrets surviving the jump from his plane and that the Indiana case is politically motivated.

"I'm no Bernie Madoff," he said.

Jeff Wehmueller, administrative chief deputy prosecutor in Hamilton County, Ind., said Schrenker is a typical perpetrator of fraud.

"As frauds go, it's nothing spectacular," Wehmueller said of the allegations against Schrenker. "I think he's the one who made it a big deal by his rather dramatic flight from the state of Indiana."

Schrenker's Indiana attorney, Chadwick Hill, said he is still reviewing evidence to prepare for trial.

"I think a lot of people are going to be surprised," he said.

(Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This story may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.)

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