WHILE WRITING BAILOUT, not only did I spend a considerable amount of time with Marcus Schrenker, but I also spoke with the people whom Schrenker spent time with. His reputation was polarized. People either thought he was a great guy, or they couldn’t stand him. Those who disliked him had caught him in lies and those who liked him simply hadn’t yet been caught in his web of deceptions.
The more time I spent with Schrenker, the more inmates approached me with their own experiences interacting with him. What I discovered was very telling. While I sat in prison, struggling to re-invent myself as a true crime writer, Schrenker spent his time actively duping female pen-pals and his fellow inmates.
I met two inmates—your basic 135 pound weaklings—that had paid Schrenker $600 to be their personal trainer. Schrenker was in great shape. Shortly after the money was received by a female friend of Schrenker’s on the street, he began their training program. However, after the very first session, Schrenker told them that the lieutenant had learned of their arrangement and had forbid him to continue the training sessions. Schrenker assured them he’d return the money, but after a series of excuses, they realized they were never going to get their money back; and didn’t.
Many of the inmates here trade foreign currencies, or FOREX. There are classes on it. They get a family member to set up a small account with a commodities broker—typically $500 to $1,000. They read the books, study the charts and start making trades.
I learned of three inmates who had hired Schrenker as a currency consultant—to my knowledge Schrenker has never successfully traded currencies. Still, they paid him $1,500 to accurately navigate the market and help them make the right trades. One of the inmates told me, “In less than two weeks Marc ran my trading account into the ground. I lost twenty-five hundred dollars, plus the five hundred dollar fee I paid Marc. He doesn’t know anything about the currency market.”
Those are just the inmates I know of.
The staff and correctional officers weren’t fond of Schrenker either. He refused to pay his Federal Restitution Program payments, so his counselor permanently kept Schrenker in what the inmates call “Flushing Meadows.” The cell directly in front of the restrooms. That’s six toilets, which 160 inmates share, and they flush day and night nonstop.
Once, Schrenker was talking on the phone to a female friend—not realizing that his call was being monitored—when he mentioned that one of the female correction officers was sexually harassing him. Schrenker told his friend that the CO had fondled him during a routine pat-down. Schrenker was immediately taken to the SHU (Special Housing Unit), aka the “hole,” while the Coleman Complex’s Special Investigations Services unit looked into the allegation.
They reviewed tapes and interviewed several other inmates. Sixty days later, it was determined Schrenker was lying. After that, the CO’s really hated him.
At one point, Schrenker enrolled in RDAP (Residential Drug Abuse Program). Upon completion of the nine month program inmates are eligible to receive up to one year off their sentence. Two months into the program, Schrenker was caught lying multiple times and was asked to withdraw from RDAP.
HERE’S THE THING ABOUT SCHRENKER; he’s got shark eyes, dark, vacant, soulless eyes. Now, I’m a con man. In many ways I’ve always been a con man. But I’ve never intentionally stolen from an individual. I’ve never ripped off someone’s retirement fund or emptied out someone’s bank account. Or even ran up someone’s credit card. The bulk of my crimes have been directed at obtaining bank frauds. However, admittedly, my frauds have unintentionally caused people financial hardship. My hands aren’t clean by any means.
Schrenker however, had targeted individuals, preyed on them, and now, once again, he’s among them. But this time it’ll be different; this time he knows there are consequences. Unfortunately, I don’t think that will stop Schrenker from scamming people. Based on everything I’ve read, and empirical evidence, pathological liars don’t change.
If I had to venture a guess, based on our conversations, I’d say at this very moment Schrenker is conning some woman out of her life savings. Only this time, when his victim realizes she’s been swindled, I seriously doubt he’ll give her the chance to file a complaint with the authorities.
After conducting an exhaustive number of interviews with Schrenker, after staring into those lifeless predatory eyes, I predict the next time he comes to prison, it’ll be for something much more heinous than securities fraud or willful destruction of an aircraft.