Wife: Affair began money manager's downward spiral

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- An Indiana money manager charged with trying to fake his death in a plane crash began to change over the past year - ultimately revealing a double life - after he started an affair, his estranged wife said Friday.

"Everything that happened in this last year became so shocking," Michelle Schrenker said on NBC's "Today" show. "The affair was a shock to me. The finances were a shock to me. Everything was a change in his behavior."

Businessman Marcus Schrenker, 38, has been jailed in Florida since his arrest Jan. 13 at a Tallahassee-area campground. Authorities say he parachuted from his airplane two days earlier and left it pilotless over Alabama in a bid to fake his death to escape mounting business and personal problems.

He has pleaded not guilty to charges of deliberately crashing the aircraft, which ended up in Florida, and making a false distress call.

Schrenker already was facing more than $9 million in court judgments and potential penalties when an Alabama judge last week ordered him to pay $12 million in a lawsuit stemming from the sale of an airplane.

State attorneys have succeeded in getting the assets of both Schrenkers placed in a court-controlled receivership. Michelle Schrenker was listed as chief financial officer in one of her husband's companies and had been living in the couple's suburban Indianapolis home assessed at $1.4 million. She said all she actually did was handle the payroll and pay bills. Her lawyer is appealing the receivership decision.

Michelle Schrenker also said she has spoken to her husband in jail.

"He has made his apologies to me. But right now I'm just focusing on my kids and what I need to do next," she said.

She said she is depending on friends to support her family since her assets were frozen.

Court records show $66,500 withdrawn in Michelle Schrenker's name from bank accounts that also included investor money between Dec. 23 and Dec. 30, the day she filed for divorce. The next day, Indiana police served a search warrant on the Schrenkers' home and Marcus Schrenker's office, seizing computers, tubs full of financial documents and evidence of recent document shredding.

Marcus Schrenker's former girlfriend, Kelly Baker, has testified that over two months ending in early December, he gave her nearly $20,000 in gifts.

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Associated Press Writer Chris Havlik in Indianapolis contributed to this report.

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