New Charges for Pilot Suspected of Faking Death

The missing pilot who bailed out of his plane, apparently to avoid a growing trail of lawsuits and investigations, now faces two new felony charges stemming from his atempted disappearing act.

The Coast Guard filed felony charges against Marcus Schrenker, 38, for allegedly making a phony distress call that "caused the Coast Guard to attempt to save lives when no help was needed," and for willfully damaging or destoying an aircraft, Petty Officer Tom Atkeson told ABCNews.com.

Atkeson, based out of New Orleans, said the first charge carries a prison sentence of up to six years.

When Schrenker radioed in his distress call, the Coast Guard dispatched a Jayhawk helicopter because he was so close to coastal waters, Atkeson said. After Air Force F-15s flew alongside Schrenker's abandoned plane until it crashed, the Coast Guard Jayhawk helped locate the downed plane and sent rescue swimmers to ensure the cockpit was indeed empty, he said.

VIDEO: Marcus Schrenker caught on a motel security camera.
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These were the first of what was expected to be a variety of state and federal charges against Schrenker, who was under armed guard at a Tallahassee hospital today.

Tom Britt, Schrenker's friend who helped him advertise his businesses, said he's already been told that investigators would need evidence from him, including an e-mail Schrenker sent him that was used to trace Schrenker's location, to use against him at trial.

Britt said he believes Schrenker wanted to crash his plane into the ocean so that authorities would declare him presumed dead.

"He made a couple, what I would call dumb mistakes," Britt said.

One was when he sent an e-mail that led police right to his location, in Alabama, following the bailout from his plane.

When police and U.S. Marshals captured Schrenker Tuesday at a Florida campground, they found he had slit his left wrist in an apparent suicide attempt. His tent was stocked with spare clothes, a cell phone, a laptop computer and $2,000 to $3,000 in cash, according to Lt. Jim Corder of the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office.

"He was sort of semi-conscious," Assistant Deputy Chief U.S. Marshal Frank Chiumento told ABC's "Good Morning America" today. "He didn't say much. He was trying to mutter some words to us."

It was the latest development in a stunning downfall for Schrenker, who on Sunday parachuted out of his single-engine plane, which then continued on auto pilot for another two hours before it crashed into Florida swampland.

He later took off on a motorcycle he had stashed in advance in a self-storage facility in Alabama, police said.

While he was on the run, months of investigation into his insurance and investment advisory businesses culminated in two felony charges for securities violations.

Chiumento said Schrenker wasn't able to make intelligible comments about the series of events that led him to the campground in Quincy, Fla., some six hours from where he abandoned his plane.

"He muttered 'die' at one time, as if he didn't want the first aid we were rendering to him," he said.

His injuries, including a large slit to his left wrist and a puncture wound near the elbow, were not believed to be life-threatening.

Corder said that once Schrenker is released from the hospital he will be transferred either to the Gadsden County Jail or to a federal detention center in Tallahassee.

"We don't expect him to stay in [the hospital] more than a day or so," Corder told ABCNews.com.

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