15 Years Later, Shocking Markle Murder-Suicide Case Fades From View

by Gwen Moritz  on Monday, Mar. 31, 2014 12:00 am  

One of Markle’s contacts at Gelder-mann’s moved to another Chicago firm, Elders Futures Inc., and Markle began moving both the Stephens and McCambridge accounts from Geldermann’s to Elders in September 1987. That’s when the scheme unraveled.

Geldermann’s had been careful to mail all statements about McCambridge’s account to Markle’s home, but Elders sent a statement on the new McCambridge account to Stephens Inc., where it caught the attention of Bruce Bennett. Bennett questioned Elders about the previously unknown account for Markle’s mother, and on Oct. 6, a Geldermann’s officer revealed the existence of a McCambridge account at his firm as well.

Since that account was also a secret to Stephens Inc., compliance officer Phil Shellabarger immediately began an investigation. The following day, he and other Stephens representatives confronted Markle, who initially denied any wrongdoing but later admitted diverting profits to his mother’s account.

Because of his history of heart disease, he was placed on medical leave while his accounts were reviewed. A few days later, he was relieved of his key to the Stephens offices and his access to company computers was cut off.

The Negotiations

Markle came up with at least two different ideas for making restitution to his employer in order to avoid criminal prosecution, both of which would have required his mother’s cooperation. And that proved to be the sticking point.

His mother had approximately $1.2 million between the two accounts at Geldermann’s and Elders. Markle offered to leave all her money on account with Stephens Inc.; McCambridge would draw interest from the account during her lifetime, and the balance would revert to Stephens on her death.

Markle seemed to believe that Jack and Witt Stephens and Jack’s son, Stephens Inc. President Warren Stephens, were amenable to this solution. But McCambridge was not — even though she had been friendly with the Stephenses, especially “Mr. Witt,” while she lived in Little Rock and, as Markle pointed out in a bitter letter to his mother, it wouldn’t have cost her anything.

McCambridge also rejected Markle’s second idea for reimbursing his employer: $600,000 in cash and the remainder of her estate at the time of her death.

Instead, McCambridge sent telegrams to the Stephenses in which she denied any wrongdoing and even suggested that Stephens Inc. owed her money.

On Nov. 11, Stephens Inc. finally received an accounting of the Geldermann’s transactions and the extent of the company’s loss became more clear. According to Police Chief Hale’s final report, Warren Stephens demanded $1 million in restitution during a final meeting with Markle on Nov. 13.

“Mr. Markle seemed to believe this was a good proposal,” Hale reported, and he requested 30 additional days to come up with the money.

 

 

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