I can fly! I can fly!

  • 21 Apr 2009 at 10:54 AM

Wasn’t Me, Babe!

mmp.pngSo remember the modern day DB Cooper wannabe Marcus Schrenker? You know, accused of financial fraud, lept out of his plane with a parachute, found later trying to commit suicide in a tent with a map of campgrounds and notes on what his distress call should say? Turns out, he isn’t detail oriented enough to pull off something like that:

Schrenker told “GMA” that there would be too much planning involved in faking his own death.
“Let’s step back and think about what someone would have to do if they wanted to fake their own death,” Schrenker said in a jailhouse telephone interview with “Good Morning America’s” Chris Cuomo. “They would have to establish a new identity. They would have to have a well-funded bank account, a place where they would live. And I did nothing like that.”
Schrenker, 38, said that he’d survived an actual accident Jan. 11 by parachuting to safety after his plane hit turbulence and the oxygen system began to fail.

Marcus Schrenker Says Claim He Tried To Fake His Death Absurd
Earlier: It’s All Just This Big Misunderstanding, You See

  • 22 Jan 2009 at 4:33 PM

Not Guilty!

mmpsmall.pngDB CooperMarcus Schrenker was arraigned today and quickly pleaded “not guilty” to the charges of intentionally destroying an aircraft and faking a distress call. His public defender (wow that sucks), obviously reacting to the “not guilty” plea, has indicated that he has “reasonable cause” to believe Schrenker is suffering from a mental condition. (We are guessing acute Gottagetawayfromthiscastratingbitchwiththecashitis, but the situation is fluid).
Pilot pleads not guilty in plane crash death hoax [CNN]

scmist.pngThe Post gives us this tantalizing hint on the possible status of Marcus Mistress Kelly Baker describing the days and moments before his last fateful flight:

Days before he tried to fake his death in a bizarre plane crash, accused swindler Marcus Schrenker pulled another brazen stunt – whisking his mistress away for a New Year’s Eve tryst in Florida as authorities raided his wife’s Indiana home.
The rogue investment manager, 38, flew girlfriend Kelly Baker, 31, to Key West….
She and Schrenker flew back home New Year’s Day and are seen in the videotape lounging at a table in the airport lobby.
“She was sick – probably from the night before,” said a source who saw the couple’s return.
Video footage shows [Schrenker] calmly loading and checking his plane, and doing doughnuts on the snowy airfield in a pickup truck before takeoff.

On The Wings Of Lust [New York Post]

  • 20 Jan 2009 at 3:22 PM

Practice In Front Of The Mirror

mmpsmall.png“Ok, let’s see. Emergency. Emergency. Something that would make me just keep flying like… like on… autopilot. Yes. Autopilot. Why would I put the autopilot on. Hmmm. Weather? Mile high club? Heh heh heh. Hmmm. Damaged aircraft? Damaged aircraft that I can’t see out of. Damaged… window? Damaged windscreen. Jacksonville Center, November 428 Delta Charlie, my face has exploded and my windscreen is bleeding massively. No… no, that’s not it. Jacksonville Center, my windscreen has exploded and I’m bleeding horribly. No… sounds to… ghoulish. I need it to be professional. I’m being recorded. This will be in the history books, my last words. It has to sound… like I’m still in command going down fighting. A hero to the last. My windscreen is broken and I… no. Windscreens don’t explode, or just break they… implode. Imploded. My windscreen has imploded. Jacksonville Center, November 428 Delta Charlie, my windscreen has imploded and… hmmmm. And… and I’m bleeding… how am I bleeding? Glass… everywhere. Cut… jugular. What’s the word? Prolifically? Protagonist? Pro… fusely. Profusely. Jacksonville Center, November 428 Delta Charlie, my windscreen has imploded and I’m bleeding profusely. Yes… yes… that’s it.”
“What in the world are you doing in there?”
“You know, I can’t find the map book anywhere and your wife’s attorney was calling earlier and… hey, what happened?”
“Nothing. I just cut myself shaving, that’s all.”

…when rescuers reached his crashed aircraft, they found “evidence including a book of campsites in America missing its pages on Alabama and Florida, and a bullet-point list scribbled on the back of a book that read: ‘cracked windshield, window imploded, bleeding profusely’.”

Fake plane death businessman left SOS bullet-point list [The Register]

  • 14 Jan 2009 at 10:56 AM

It’s Just Not Fair

I mean the story had everything. General aviation. Infidelity. Financial fraud. (Allegedly). Interstate flight. Suicide. (Attempted). (Allegedly). Divorce. More financial fraud. (Allegedly). The FBI. Southern law enforcement. The U.S. Marshals Service. Camping. Insurance fraud. (Allegedly). Shameless self promotion. Photographs representing the absolute pinnacle of douchebaggery. MILFs. (Your mileage may vary). Equities in Dallas. (Indianapolis). Civil suits. Bankruptcy. Bankruptcy fraud. (Allegedly). And what’s more? It was so sordid, in fact, that our friends over at Clusterstock didn’t even write about it once! But we know what you love. Don’t we?
This story was made for Dealbreaker. Accordingly, I would like to take a moment to say: fuck you. Fuck you Marcus for blowing it so quickly. We even gave you a guide to sustain you in your time of trouble, for crying out loud.
Ok, ok. Story so far:
In 1990 Schrenker does 16 days on a stolen property theft charge, apparently gets probation and has the record expunged. (Well, sort of expunged anyhow).
In 1991 Schrenker faces a forced Chapter 7 liquidation petition, claims it was filed fraudulently and blames his fraternity brothers for taking cards out in his name.
In 2001 he was terminated from Multi Financial Securities (churning was the allegation).
In 2003 he faces IRS allegations that he failed to report income and purchased “$29,000 in audio/visual equipment and orders $16,000 worth of landscaping services, provided to his home” that he seemed to be claiming as business expenses.
In 2003 he again faces a Chapter 7 liquidation action, again claiming the action was fraudulently filed. (Forged signature). Sounds familiar.

Read more »

  • 13 Jan 2009 at 3:16 PM

Ponzi Signs

Yes, it’s true, we called “Ponzi” on the early Schrenker news mostly tongue-in-cheek, but there were hints and now… the signs are all there.
1. Targeted a specific group and demographic with existing trust structures (pilots):

“It was all word of mouth, and when you’re a pilot, you trust. That’s what you do and what you’re used to doing,” said Joe Mazzone, 57, of Auburn, Alabama. “His modus operandi is, he flies into your city dressed up in a $1,000 suit and sits down with you, buys you lunch, and the next thing you know, he has you on his side, and you move your money to his Heritage Wealth Management.”

[Note: Heritage Wealth Management, Inc., Schrenker’s firm should not be confused with Heritage Wealth Management, LLC, the apparently unconnected San Diego firm]
2. Highlighted charisma over facts:

“This guy was the most charming guy you’ll ever meet,” said Kinney, who allowed Schrenker to manage his money starting about 2003. Kinney then encouraged his parents to invest about $2 million with Schrenker.
“This guy was family to me,” Kinney told CNN. “He’s a fantastic nice guy. He’s well-spoken. His customer service was impeccable. You call the guy on the phone, you would get him.

3. Was vague about strategies and provided limited methodology descriptions:

“He told my parents that they were investing in various insurance products, but they didn’t really know what that meant. I didn’t really know, either. We trusted him,” Kinney continued. “He said this is a safe place to put money, to avoid all the world’s dangers like terrorism and impending doom and gloom associated with it.

4. Used unusual fee structures:

Both pilots say Schrenker gave them vague explanations about where their money was invested. Kinney and Mazzone said Schrenker assured them that he was not making commissions on their investments and that the pilots and their families would receive only one statement each year showing returns.

The signs are all there.
Warrant issued for missing pilot [CNN]

  • 13 Jan 2009 at 2:32 PM

It’s All Just This Big Misunderstanding, You See

Thumbnail image for ms4.jpgEveryone’s favorite DB Cooper wannabe apparently emailed a friend, and author of atGeist.com, Tom Britt, to plead his innocence:

Britt said Schrenker claimed in the e-mail that he had done nothing wrong and detailed the moments before he bailed from the plane.
“He said he panicked. He blacked out. He was disoriented when he landed. He was trying to explain to me his side of the story,” Britt said.

We totally understand. That’s a very traumatic experience you went through, Marcus.
CNN reports some other interesting details:
Though his state license to operate as a compensated financial adviser was revoked December 31st when his firm was raided, that didn’t stop him from supposedly working through January 5th.
His wife filed for divorce the day before the raid. (Hmmmm! We need to put this girl and Andy Madoff’s wife together and build a fund around them. Talk about timing!)
Marcus was “disturbed” by what he was reading on CNN and Britt’s website (Your Blackberry is going to give you away, Marcus! Don’t do this to us. We voted for ‘Marcus Flies Free Forever’) and wanted to set the record straight. (From Mexico, one assumes).
A judge has issued an arrest warrant and set $4 million in bail. (That seems low to us, but it was in Indiana, after all).
We are no experts on Indiana law, but might be propose this:
1. Despondent from your wife’s bitter and seditious betrayal (that whore!) and the recent death of your father, you decided to take a nice, relaxing flight and do some late night canoeing. You figured you’d fly down to Florida, drop the plane off and join your friends up in Alabama for some Deliverance/Southern Comfort action. We understand. Really. No need to explain, we’ve seen the family pictures, the upside-down mousepad. We know all the secret codes.
2. Somewhere over Alabama, a can of warm seltzer water exploded. The sound is remarkably like a catastrophic windscreen failure, you know. (Try it!)
3. Convinced that you have been sprayed with glass, and mistaking the warm seltzer water for blood, your eyes stinging and panic setting in, you did the only reasonable thing- what any pilot would do in the same circumstance: you activated the autopilot. How it got set for 2,000 feet, you will never know.
4. Realizing that you were actually close to your Alabama destination, and that landing would be impossible with your badly damaged eyes anyhow, you pulled out the parachute you always keep on board, just in case.

Read more »

21_samissle_lgl.jpgDisappointed by the alarming dearth of intelligence in the modern criminal mind, and with the eventual goal of providing more interesting and alluring white-collar crime mysteries for our readers, we have developed this guide in order to give the modern financial thief a fighting chance at remaining “at large” for at least 60-90 days after consummating a significant fraud.
We at Dealbreaker are dedicated to the preservation of entertaining white-collar crime stories. This seems the most effective way to increase their number.
Below you will find a series of financial crime cover-up “Do’s” and “Don’ts.” Obviously, however, we frown on unethical behavior in any form, and you should always consult your professional financial, legal and tax advisers before embarking on a multi-year flight from justice.

Do: Prepare your escape well before your imminent discovery.
There is nothing worse than trying to plan the many tiers of logistics that are required to effectuate a decent escape and prepare a livable fugitive lifestyle while under time pressure. Rushing things tends to create transparent plans, needlessly involves co-conspirators and makes for bad decision making. (Parking your SUV in the field of view of a video camera when pretending to jump from a local bridge famous for suicide attempts, for instance). Time will permit you to disable the relevant cameras before the attempt, or select a proper location without such perfect coverage.
Don’t: Lose your cool in the face of time pressure if your plans go awry, or if you failed to make any plans or anticipate your imminent discovery.
Ok, we were wrong: There is something worse than trying to plan the many tiers of logistics that are required to effectuate a decent escape, like voluntarily having a conversation with a policeman an hour after you declared an in-air emergency and faked your own death and, in the course of that conversation, handing over your real driver’s license. This is panic-driven behavior. Not to rub it in, but if you had worked on the time part, you’d be better off. Since you didn’t, however, keeping your cool is pretty essential. If you aren’t up for that, well, perhaps you should have concentrated on HVAC work?
Do: Lose the wife/girlfriend/boyfriend. Period. Seriously. No, seriously.
You aren’t doing her a favor by including her in your plans and forcing upon her the choice of either being a co-conspirator, an accessory before the fact, and probably after the fact, or keeping silent and facing significant prosecutorial pressure to turn on you (which will eventually prevail- how exactly do you think she will handle the asset freeze?), or turning you in right after you walk out the door. Besides, once you hit the beach in Venezuela, she’s going to look a lot older, and far less appealing in a swimsuit than you remembered- particularly compared to the local women. Plus, you will face the burden of owing everything to her and that is simply not a weight that a woman like that is going to let a man forget. Ever. Never ever. The Saks Fifth Avenue in Caracas is no Saks Fifth Avenue at all. This alone should be reason to end all argument on this topic. You will likely prosper with the chance to begin again. She is assured not to. If you absolutely must include her in your plans (perhaps she was the firm’s CFO, will be able to cast serious doubt on your tragic death story, etc.) then make sure to conceal the body well before your arrival in Venezuela.

Read more »