Financier Pleads Guilty to Faking His Death in Crash

Despite previous claims insisting he had experienced catastrophic damage to his Piper Malibu, an Indiana fund manager pleaded guilty last week to intentionally crashing the airplane and sending false distress calls. Marcus Schrenker, 38, bailed out of his PA-46-500TP over Alabama, near where he had stashed a motorcycle in a storage facility. The airplane crashed short of the Gulf of Mexico in Milton, Florida, in a residential neighborhood, narrowly missing houses. Schrenker, who was facing legal issues related to his wealth management investment company, told air traffic controllers his windshield had imploded and he was injured and bleeding. He said he was losing consciousness, but subsequently leveled the airplane at 3,500 feet, engaged the autopilot and bailed out through the aft cabin door. There was no apparent damage to the windshield when the airplane crashed. Schrenker was taped by surveillance cameras checking into a motel near Birmingham, Alabama, and later arrested by U.S. Marshalls in a rural campground. A laptop computer seized at the campground had been used to search the internet for information on parachuting from aircraft, and also for possible penalties for security fraud.