Robert Markman, a controversial, self-promoting money manager who shot himself in February, left a suicide note in which he admitted to defrauding investors of millions of dollars, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The newspaper, which obtained the suicide note through the use of Minnesota's freedom of information laws, also reported that eight months after the suicide, the extent of Markman's Ponzi scheme is still unclear.

"I owe millions of dollars, and have nothing but my life insurance with which to pay it back," the 58-year-old Markman wrote in the 14-page note, according to a story in the Star Tribune on Wednesday.

Markman, of Markman Capital Management in Edina, Minn., had an up-and-down career that saw him gain prominence as one of the high-fliers of the tech-fueled bull market of the late 1990s. At the time, he said most advisors following the principles of diversification and asset allocation were incompetent dinosaurs. He was one of the first RIAs to start his own mutual fund.

Jerry Wade, a competitor in Golden Valley, told the Star Tribune that he used to sneak into Markman's seminars "just so I could hear the prophet." Investment advisors across the United States were buying his research, said Wade, owner of Wade Financial Group.

In 1995, just as the tech wave was starting, Markman started his own fund, the Markman Multi-Funds Trust, which invested in other mutual funds and had $269 million in assets at its peak in 2000, according to the Star Tribune. The success compelled him to speak out against asset allocation and diversification, which led to him locking horns with none other than John Bogle, the market index guru who founded The Vanguard Group. Bogle bet Markman his Vanguard 500 Index fund would beat Markman's strategy over the next five years, according to the Star Tribune.

When the tech bubble burst, however, Markman's investments-heavily concentrated in technology and Internet-related investments-crashed hard.

The Ponzi scheme, according to the newspaper, involved special "house accounts" in which Markman promised a clique of favored investors annual returns of at least 10%.

"For decades I've felt trapped, like, someone who has had a stroke who can think on the inside, but cannot communicate on the outside. ... I feel like I have disappeared long ago. ... So here is the story. My secret life of terrible crime," Markman wrote, according to the Star Tribune.

Among the revelations in Markman's suicide note was that for the past five years he carried "key man" life insurance to the protect the business if he died, according to the Star Tribune. The insurer was obliged to pay even if Markman committed suicide, according to the story. Before killing himself on February 19, Markman left the suicide note in his home office, along with a binder containing his insurance policy information and instructions for his wife to follow to repay house account investors.

Schwab Institutional, where most of Markman's clients had their assets custodied, has stated that there are no claims against them by Markman's clients, and Markman's wife, Emilee Markman, has said most clients have been "satisfied" financially, according to the Star Tribune.

Because investigators failed to retrieve all of Markman's client records after the suicide, there was never a clear accounting of how many clients were impacted by the scheme and to what extent, according to the article. The attorney representing Emilee Markman did say, however, that records indicate the scam did not exceed $6 million, according to the Star-Tribune.

The full Star Tribune story can be read here.