IBJNews

Schrenker sentenced to 10 years for securities fraud

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A judge Thursday ignored pleas for leniency from an Indiana money manager who conned friends into investing in a fund that didn't exist and tried to fake his death by parachuting out of a plane and crashing it when the scheme started to unravel.

Hamilton Superior Court Judge Steven Nation sentenced Marcus Schrenker to 10 years in prison, ignoring Schrenker's claims that a lighter sentence would give him enough time to make things right.

Schrenker will serve the sentence consecutively with a four-year federal prison term he received for ditching his plane in January 2009 and crashing it in Florida.

Schrenker, 39, told Nation he wanted to repay investors and rebuild his relationship with the three children he's seen only once since his arrest. He said he has bipolar disorder and had got caught in a downward spiral of stress after becoming addicted to painkillers.

"I had it all and I threw it away," he said as his estranged wife, Michelle, watch the proceedings quietly from the audience.

Schrenker pleaded guilty last month to five securities fraud charges and agreed to serve up to 10 years in prison and pay more than $600,000 in restitution. As part of the plea deal, four charges against Schrenker were dismissed.

Nation said he had such a hard time believing Schrenker wouldn't spiral into the same pattern of behavior again that he almost didn't accept the plea agreement.

Schrenker estimated he still owes investors about $400,000, but Hamilton County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeff Wehmueller said he faces millions of dollars in court-ordered judgments when he is released from prison. Wehmueller said it would be "virtually impossible" for Schrenker to pay back all the money he owes.

Schrenker was an amateur daredevil pilot who used money he stole from investors to buy planes, luxury cars and a 10,000-square-foot home in an upscale suburban Indianapolis neighborhood on Geist Reservoir nicknamed "Cocktail Cove," where affluent boaters often socialized, prosecutors say.

They say Schrenker bilked nine clients, including a friend of 10 years and his own aunt, out of a total of about $1.5 million they thought they were investing in a foreign currency fund that didn't exist.

"I almost lost everything," one of those victims, Charles William Black, said in court Thursday. He told Schrenker he forgave him even though he had betrayed their longtime friendship by stealing about $15,000 in savings intended for Black's children.

Black said he hopes Schrenker can be a good father to his children, ages 15, 13 and 8, when he gets out of prison.

Defense attorney P. Chadwick Hill argued that a long prison term for Schrenker would be punishment for his children and said his client had changed now that he was properly medicated.

"How big a chunk of Marcus do we want?" he asked.

But Wehmueller questioned whether Schrenker was thinking of his children's well-being when he parachuted out of his plane nearly two years ago. He said the things Schrenker blamed for his wrongdoing — his bipolar disorder, addiction and stress — were all "circumstances that could come back."

The scheme began to unravel when the economy declined and some investors wanted to stash their money in safer investments, prosecutors say. His wife filed for divorce Dec. 30, 2008, a day before Indiana police seized computers and financial documents during a search of his home and office. Days earlier, he lost a $533,000 judgment to an insurance company.

Facing mounting legal problems, Schrenker put his small plane on autopilot in January 2009 and jumped out with a parachute. He said he pointed the plane toward the Gulf of Mexico, but the plane ran out of fuel and crashed in the Florida Panhandle.

Schrenker parachuted into Alabama and was found two days later at a Florida campground, bleeding of a self-inflicted wrist slash.

Indiana authorities had the assets of Schrenker and his estranged wife placed in a court-controlled receivership.

Wehmueller said Schrenker would serve his time in an Indiana prison before finishing about three years remaining on his federal sentence. The judge suspended another 10 years of his sentence and ordered him to be placed on probation for four years after his release.

As part of his probation, Schrenker cannot work in financial management and must seek counseling.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Heritage
    Does anyone remember the newspaper ads for his investment company, Heritage Wealth Management, which claimed to manage your money according to Christian principles?

    Just another example of how not all "Christians" are moral. Whenever someone waves their "Christian" banner, trust, but verify!
  • Still lying
    He "used money he stole from investors to buy planes, luxury cars and a 10,000-square-foot home"

    I think the proper term for this is "complete lack of moral character" -- not "bipolar", "stressed", or "on painkillers"

    Excuses, excuses. The legitimately bipolar people out there should be offended!

    • mud puddle
      Affluent boaters..hahahaha
    • Great Line
      "I had it all and I threw it away,"

      He still doesn't get it. No, he didn't have it all. He never had anything except what he stole.
    • Would someone please finally charge the gang
      starting with Tim Durham. Please. Marcus is nothing compared to Durwood and Cochroach.

    Post a comment to this story

    COMMENTS POLICY
    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
     
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
     
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
     
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
     
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
     

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by
    ADVERTISEMENT

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
     
    Subscribe to IBJ
    1. I never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

    2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

    3. I was just watching an AOW race from cleveland in 1997...in addition to the 65K for the race, there were more people in boats watching that race from the lake than were IndyCar fans watching the 2014 IndyCar season finale in the Fontana grandstands. Just sayin...That's some resurgence modern IndyCar has going. Almost profitable, nobody in the grandstands and TV ratings dropping 61% at some tracks in the series. Business model..."CRAZY" as said by a NASCAR track general manager. Yup, this thing is purring like a cat! Sponsors...send them your cash, pronto!!! LOL, not a chance.

    4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

    5. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............

    ADVERTISEMENT