INDIANAPOLIS – A money manager charged with trying to escape financial ruin by faking his death in a plane crash denies staging the accident and says in a letter to authorities his estranged wife had no part in any misdealings.
Marcus Schrenker, who's accused of bilking investors of hundreds of thousands of dollars, sent a seven-page letter to Indiana authorities asking them to unfreeze the assets of his wife, Michelle, who is listed as his company's chief financial officer. He also offers to make restitution in return for reduced charges.
"There isn't a moment that goes by that I don't deeply regret the mistakes our company made and hope all parties will let me take responsibility for the financial issues surrounding the alleged funds that clients are missing," Schrenker wrote in the Feb. 24 letter, a copy of which was obtained Friday by The Associated Press.
Jim Gavin, a spokesman for the Indiana secretary of state's office, which regulates securities, confirmed the agency had received the letter this week but declined to comment on its contents.
Gavin said Secretary of State Todd Rokita would continue to press the case in court and will "not let any party benefit from wrongly gotten wealth."
A message seeking comment was left at the Indiana attorney general's office, to which the letter also was addressed.
Schrenker, 38, was arrested at a Tallahassee, Fla., campground on Jan. 13, two days after authorities say he put his plane on autopilot and jumped out over Alabama to flee personal and financial problems. The plane crashed about 200 miles away in Florida, where he is being held on federal charges stemming from the crash.
He also faces felony charges tied to his financial dealings in Indiana, is named in more than a half-dozen lawsuits and has lost millions of dollars in legal judgments. His wife filed for divorce Dec. 30, the day before investigators searched his home.
State attorneys have placed the assets of both Schrenkers in a court-controlled receivership — including the couple's suburban Indianapolis home assessed at $1.4 million, where Michelle Schrenker and the couple's three children live.
The state contends Michelle Schrenker withdrew tens of thousands of dollars from bank accounts that also included investor money in the week before she filed for divorce.
She denies any wrongdoing and says all she did was handle the payroll and pay bills. Her lawyer is appealing the receivership decision.
The letter seemed intended to reinforce her arguments.
"Michelle has never received any compensation, assets, indirectly or directly, from client funds," it said. "Assessing her assets, and taking receivership, is wrong.
"There is no honor in throwing kids out on the street, especially at times like these."
The Associated Press left a message seeking comment with attorney Mary Schmid, who is representing Michelle Schrenker.
Marcus Schrenker also flatly denies trying to fake his own death or evade authorities and says he suffered a head injury in the plane crash that resulted in a loss of memory. He said he had intended to visit his father in Florida and take a motorcycle trip.
"The accident was just that, an accident," he wrote.
Schrenker also repeated claims made in an earlier interview with The New York Post that he was under psychiatric care and on medication for more than a year. He said he had been mentally incompetent due to stress and a prescription drug problem.
"I was simply overwhelmed, could no longer reason, and made some poor investment choices," he wrote.