INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – For the first time, the victims of a scam artist who tried to fake his own death are speaking out about the betrayal they suffered.
The Indiana Secretary of State’s Office in partnership with WFYI unveiled a 30-minute documentary, Tuesday, called “Scammed: Investment Fraud Revealed.” The film tells the stories of three major fraud schemes that took place in Indiana, including the Marcus Schrenker case.
You can view the documentary below.
Schrenker was a wealthy financial adviser from Geist who was convicted of securities fraud in 2010. He tricked his clients into investing millions of dollars into a fund that didn’t exist. Instead, he spent that money on his own lavish lifestyle.
“The money that we gave him for the currency fund that he allegedly was investing in never showed up anywhere,” said Mike Alma, one of Schrenker’s victims.
As the State came down on him for fraud, Schrenker crashed his plane in order to fake his own death. Schrenker parachuted out of the plane and landed in Alabama. The plane crashed in Florida. He was found two days later at a camp site in Florida.
“I treated him like a very close friend,” explained another victim, Ron Johnson. “You know, having him to the house and met his children and got to know him quite well. And to think that he was doing this behind our back. It was very hurtful.”
Secretary of State Connie Lawson said she wanted to create the film so Hoosiers could see how investment fraud was happening right here in their backyard. She also wanted to send a warning to scam artists across the state.
“If they would think ‘Oh they’re really on it and maybe we should leave Indiana’, that would be fine with me,” said Lawson.
She added that Hoosiers thinking about investing should find out if the person is licensed to do that kind of work in the first place.
“If somebody comes to you without you asking for their advice, that’s a big red flag. You know professionals don’t have time to solicit individuals and business because they’re busy working. And also they need to ask questions and find out if that person is licensed and registered,” she said.
Schrenker was released from prison last year.