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Authorities: Pilot accused of faking death found in Florida

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  • NEW: Authorities: Marcus Schrenker apparently attempted suicide, taken to hospital
  • NEW: Schrenker found in Florida two days after plane crash, authorities say
  • Police: Schrenker bailed out of plane before crash, fled on stashed motorcycle
  • Authorities file charges against Schrenker, accused of defrauding investors
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(CNN) -- Marcus Schrenker, the financial manager who officials say faked his own death in a plane crash after scamming his customers, has been found after an apparent suicide attempt, Florida and federal authorities said Tuesday.

Schrenker was last reported seen at a hotel in Harpersville, Alabama, south of Birmingham.

Marcus Schrenker was taken to a hospital after he was found in Quincy, Florida, on Tuesday, authorities said.

The man was found in Quincy, Florida, with marks on his body consistent with a suicide attempt, said Lt. Jim Corder, a spokesman for the Gadsden County sheriff's office. He was taken to Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, Porter said.

U.S. Marshals Service spokesman Peter Swaim said late Tuesday the man has been identified as Schrenker. The service was leading the manhunt for Schrenker, who has been missing since Sunday.

A Marshals Service source, who asked not to be named because the case is still under investigation, said federal agents found Schrenker inside a tent at a camp site with a cut on his wrist. He was airlifted to the hospital, the source said.

The source would not say how marshals knew to look at the camp site.

Schrenker was charged in Hamilton County, Indiana, on Tuesday with unlawful acts by a compensated adviser and unlawful transaction by an investment adviser.

Authorities believe Schrenker defrauded investors through three companies he owns before attempting a bizarre and potentially deadly vanishing act.

Schrenker took off alone Sunday night from Anderson, Indiana, in a Piper PA-46 en route to Destin, Florida. Over Alabama, he contacted air traffic controllers, saying the windshield had imploded and he was bleeding profusely, authorities said. Police suspect he then put the aircraft on autopilot and parachuted to the ground.

The plane later crashed near the Blackwater River in East Milton, Florida, missing a group of homes by only 50 to 75 yards, said Sgt. Scott Haines of the Santa Rosa County, Florida, sheriff's department.

"We do consider him dangerous," U.S. marshals Deputy John Beeman said Thursday. "He has shown his disregard for life by letting this plane go unmanned until it crashed into the ground in Florida."

Shortly before 2:30 a.m. Monday, hours after the crash, Schrenker showed up at a residence in Childersburg, Alabama, and said he had been in a canoeing accident, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

A resident gave him a ride into Childersburg, and police made contact with him, identifying him through his FAA pilot's license, authorities said. Childersburg is about 35 miles south of Birmingham.

Unaware of the crash, the officers took Schrenker to a hotel in nearby Harpersville. After hearing about the crash, they went back to the hotel, where they found that Schrenker had checked in under a fictitious name and was gone, possibly into a wooded area, police said.

Officials now believe he fled Harpersville on a 2008 red Yamaha street bike he had stashed at a storage unit earlier, also using an assumed name. Investigators found the unit empty of the motorcycle and with some wet clothes left behind.

When leasing the storage facility, Schrenker brought the motorcycle in a brown pickup with a trailer and told the leasing agent he would return for it Monday, according to the Marshals Service.

Back in Florida, military aircraft from Whiting Field in Milton, Florida, were dispatched Sunday to intercept the plane after Schrenker reported the emergency. The pilots saw that the plane's door was open, the cockpit was dark and witnessed the plane's crash, according to the Santa Rosa County sheriff's office. Video Watch what authorities believe happened »

Although Schrenker had said he was bleeding, no blood was found in the downed plane.

Before authorities said Tuesday night that Schrenker was found, friends of Schrenker's seemed as mystified as police, who were seeking him in several states.

"Why someone would jump out of a plane and leave it on autopilot with his training and his background is beyond me," Tom Britt said. "There's no reason for him to do it other than trying to stage something." Video Watch Schrenker perform airborne stunts »

Britt said he received an e-mail Monday night from someone who identified himself as Schrenker. The message said Schrenker had been reading accounts of his disappearance on CNN.com and other news outlets and was "disturbed and wanted to set the record straight," Britt told CNN affiliate WRTV in Indianapolis.

Britt said the message writer said that he would never abandon a plane and let it crash somewhere but that he "panicked."

The writer claimed he blacked out and was disoriented, Britt said.

The e-mail also implied that Schrenker might commit suicide, Britt said. The message said, "By the time you read this, I'll be gone."

On Monday, a judge in Indiana froze Schrenker's assets at the request of investigators looking into his business dealings, said Jim Gavin, a spokesman for the Indiana secretary of state. The order also applies to Schrenker's wife, who was seeking a divorce, and his three companies, Gavin said.

Those companies -- Heritage Wealth Management, Heritage Insurance Services and Icon Wealth Management -- are "the subjects of an active investigation by the Indiana Securities Division," Gavin said. Public documents list Schrenker as president of Heritage Wealth Management in Fishers, Indiana.

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Court papers contain allegations that Schrenker defrauded several investors.

A search warrant related to the inquiry was served December 31, Gavin said.

CNN's Ashley Fantz, Kathleen Johnston and Tristan Smith contributed to this report.

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