Money Manager Gets Sentenced Today in Florida

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August 19, 2009 by   - () Leave a Comment

Federal prosecutors say an Indiana money manager should get up to 57 months in prison for intentionally crashing his plane earlier this year and then fleeing to a campground.

Sentencing for Marcus Schrenker is set today (Aug. 19) in Florida. In a court filing, prosecutors also call on Schrenker to pay more than $870,000 in restitution for the plane, according to Inside Indiana Business

The aircraft crashed in April in the Florida panhandle after Schrenker jumped out over southern Alabama.

He has pleaded guilty to intentionally crashing the plane and sending a false distress call to the Coast Guard.

Indiana officials have stated they are waiting for the federal case in Florida to play out, before they move ahead with prosecution.

Schrenker is facing two felony counts in Indiana, including doing business without being registered as a financial adviser. He faces up to 26 years in prison if convicted on these charges.


Prior to Schrenker's arrest on Jan. 13, the most excitement the owners of the KOA campground in Chattahoochee, Fla., can remember is the time a cow wandered up and tried to drink out of their swimming pool.

"It's normally real quiet out here," said 33-year-old Troy Hastings who bought the 34-acre site in May 2008, according to the Pensacola News Journal.

All that changed after dark Tuesday when sheriff's deputies converged on a small tan pup tent and arrested Schrenker, the president of Heritage Wealth Management.

Three days earlier, Schrenker's plane crashed in Milton, Fla., after the 38-year-old Indiana businessman allegedly faked a distress call and parachuted out, leaving the aircraft on autopilot.

Schrenker arrived at the KOA campground, located on the Georgia border about 40 miles northwest of Tallahassee, around mid-day on Monday riding a red Yamaha motorcycle.

At around 5 p.m. Troy Hastings went to check on Schrenker, and though he didn't go into the tent, he said he noticed some red tinge on the front flap.

"I yelled and asked if everything was OK and told him if he wanted to stay another night that he'd have to pay and he just told me he'd fallen asleep or was taking a nap or something," said Troy.

Inside the office, Troy and Caroline debated calling the authorities. At around 7 p.m., the authorities called us.

"They just asked if there was anything suspicious going on," said Carolyn, who said they have a close rapport with the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office.
"We said, 'yeah, we have a guy who came in on a motorcycle and hasn't left his tent all day,'" she said.

Troy and Carolyn Hastings drove out to meet the deputies and to confirm that the man in the tent was indeed Schrenker.

"They didn't even get the picture all the way unfolded when I recognized him," she said.
Deputies then swarmed the campsite.

"There was a few seconds of yelling and then they just pulled him out of the tent and put him in an ambulance," said Caroline, who remembers that there was blood everywhere.

On Jan. 11, Schrenker was flying his single-engine Piper Malibu to Florida from his Indiana home when he reported the windshield had imploded over central Alabama.

Then his radio went silent.

Military jets tried to intercept the plane and found the door open, the cockpit dark. The aircraft crashed more than 200 miles farther south in a Florida Panhandle bayou surrounded by homes.

Police believe Schrenker parachuted to the ground in central Alabama, where he'd stashed a motorcycle with full saddlebags in a storage unit in Harpersville rented just the day before his flight.

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