Schrenker plans book about plane crash

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, 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.

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