Schrenker says plane crash was 'accident'

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By Angye Morrison

Marcus Schrenker, the Indiana financial adviser who was arrested in January for parachuting from his airplane while it was left on autopilot, has sent a four-page letter to state officials, his family and media outlets throughout the country proclaiming his innocence.

Schrenker's plane crashed near Milton Jan. 11, and he then rode a motorcycle to a campground in Chattahoochee. Local and federal authorities found him there after campground owners and other campers reported moaning coming from his tent. When Schrenker was arrested, he had injuries consistent with those of an apparent suicide attempt, and there was a large quantity of blood in the tent.

The charges against Schrenker include intentionally crashing his plan and faking a distress call. He is being held at the Federal Detention Center in Miami, and is undergoing mental evaluations at the facility to determine whether he is mentally capable of standing trial.

In his letter, Schrenker said the crash was an accident and he denied that he had tried to evade authorities. He said he was on his way to Destin to visit his father, and that he had planned a side trip on the motorcycle.

"There is a lot the public doesn't know and soon the truth of what really happened on 1-11-2009 will be told," Schrenker wrote, saying he would be providing interviews to national news networks in coming weeks. "I did not try to 'fake my death.' I was not motivated in any way to do so nor did I have the resources."

Upon extradition to Indiana, Schrenker will face criminal charges there connected with allegations that he worked as an investment adviser after his registration as such was terminated in December 2008. There are also separate fraud allegations in an additional fraud case, which implicates Schrenker for failure to inform clients of risks associated with investments and converting investor funds for personal use.

Schrenker has reportedly said he was mentally unstable and was abusing prescription drugs at the time of the alleged wrongdoing.

Schrenker's trial in Florida is expected to begin in early May.