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Report: Financial Adviser Tried to Fake Own Death

POSTED: 07:35 PM ET, 01/12/2009 by Derek Kravitz

Further oddities from the financial crisis of 2009: An Indiana financial adviser who authorities say faked his own death by parachuting out of his plane as it crashed into a swampy area of north Florida is missing again.

Police are combing the woods of Alabama looking for 38-year-old Marcus Shrenker, an Indianapolis pilot and president of Heritage Wealth Management who went missing Sunday after his single-engine Piper Malibu crashed.

Shrenker had been dogged in recent weeks by a host of personal and legal problems; insurance regulators are investigating Schrenker for allegedly misappropriating clients' money, a federal court in Maryland had recently ordered him to pay $533,000 to a life-insurance company for "unearned commissions" and last month an insurance firm filed a similar lawsuit in federal court in Indianapolis, claiming Schrenker owes more than $1.4 million.

His wife, Michelle, also filed for divorce just before New Year's Day.

Late Sunday, Schrenker had issued a distress call as his Destin, Fla.-bound plane flew near Birmingham, Ala. Military jets were called in to help as Schrenker told air-traffic controllers that the plane's windshield had "imploded" and that he was bleeding. The six-seater crashed moments later.

Authorities examined the crash site and presumed Schrenker was dead.

But on Monday, a visibly wet Shrenker, wearing goggles made for "flying," was spotted by a police officer in Childersburg, Ala. He allegedly told the officer that he had been in a canoeing accident with some friends and handed the officer his driver's license before being taken to a nearby hotel.

After discovering who he was, police went back to the hotel to find Schrenker missing. He had checked in under a fake name, paid in cash and fled into the nearby woods wearing a black toboggan cap.

Schrenker has been described as an accomplished pilot with a knowledge of getting through tight situations; He was hired as a consultant for a news series about airport security by WTHR-TV, an NBC affiliate in Indianapolis, after the Sept. 11 attacks, demonstrating security lapses at the facility using hidden cameras.

By Derek Kravitz |  January 12, 2009; 7:35 PM ET
Previous: The Bush Legacy Debate Begins | Next: Push for Bailout Bucks, Gitmo Closure Considered, Clinton's Donor Interventions?


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