Facing divorce and a half-million-dollar court judgment, Indiana financial advisor and stunt pilot Marc Schrenker parachuted out of a plane Sunday in an apparent effort to fake his own death. He is at large.
At least Schrenker has shown some spunk and swagger in trying to escape financial fraud — unlike, say, Bernie Madoff, the $50 billion Ponzi schemer whose idea of flirting with danger seems to be mailing $200 mittens.
Let's review how he did it: Found guilty of bilking a life insurance company for $533,564 in unearned commissions, Schrenker, who ran a company called Heritage Wealth management, carefully plotted his faked demise.
He took off in his jet Sunday for Destin, Fla. En route, he radioed air traffic control, claiming a plane window had imploded and the craft was losing oxygen. At the same time, he managed to email a neighbor, Tom Britt, with a slightly different version of the story:
“I embarrassed my family for the last time and by the time you read this I will be gone. Hypoxia can cause people to make terrible decisions and I simply put on my parachute and survival gear and bailed out."
But the bailout wasn't a spur-of-the-moment decision. How was he found more than 200 miles from the crash site? Schrenker had stashed a motorcycle in Childersburg, Ala. over the weekend. After parachuting to the ground as the plane went on to crash in Florida, he got on the motorcycle.
Schrenker turned himself into local police, claiming he'd been in a canoeing accident; they took him to a local hotel. By the time they checked his story and discovered the plane crash, Schrenker had already taken off into the woods. The only trace of him left: A YouTube video documenting his plane aerobatics, which is winning rave reviews from Schrenker fans urging him to "run." Just one question: When are we getting a direct-to-DVD movie?