An Indiana man has been sentenced to federal prison after he was convicted in connection with a multi-year scheme to swindle millions of dollars from his employer
Daniel Fruits, 47, has been sentenced to six years in prison after he previously pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering charges, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana.
Fruits was also sentenced to three years of probation following his release and ordered to pay $14,339,252.04 in restitution to his victims and a $14,270,000 money judgment.
Authorities say that Fruits, who was tasked with managing and running Greenwood, Indiana-based trucking company Secure Transit on behalf of Kentucky-based entity Kloiber Management Services LLC, engaged in a scheme over 4 and a half years to defraud the company out of more than $14 million.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says that Kloiber Management Services invested over $14 million in Secure Transit between January 2015 and June 2019. Fruits reportedly took the $14 million investment for his personal use and hid his actions through false and misleading financial statements. Fruits is also accused of using those falsified financial statements to his employer to induce additional investments into the trucking company.
Officials say that Fruits used the ill-gotten money to fund a “lavish lifestyle,” purchasing the following items:
- Real estate
- Several vehicles including two Ferraris and a Corvette
- Farm equipment including a horse trailer
- A show horse
- Expensive jewelry including multiple Rolex watches
- Private jet flights
- High-end escort services.
In mid 2019, Fruits’ employer Kloiber Management Services asked Fruits to have an accountant review the Secure Transit financial statements and provide a report, but rather than comply, he allegedly created a falsified letter from an accountant. When his employer followed up with the accountant, they learned that the letter was fictitious. Fruits was fired the following day and the victims called the police.
The case was handed over to the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigations for further investigation.
Investigators also learned that Fruits attempted to defraud Fifth Third bank out of $432,000 by providing false documents to secure a mortgage.
Additionally, investigators learned that Fruits orchestrated a title wash scheme that fraudulently removed Ally Financial’s lien from a $69,607 truck.
Fruits was arrested on December 16, 2020.
“Mr. Fruits stole an outrageous sum of money to fuel an extravagant lifestyle, concealing his crimes with years of lies and false documents,” said Zachary A. Myers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “Complex economic crimes such as these devastate the finances and security of businesses and individuals. The serious prison sentence imposed today demonstrates that this U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, IRS-CI, and all our law enforcement partners will work tirelessly to hold these criminals accountable.”
“Mr. Fruits put his personal greed ahead of loyalty to a company that had entrusted him with its money and used funds that were not his to finance a lavish lifestyle. Even after his arrest, the defendant still was intent on defrauding others for his personal gain,” said FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Herbert J. Stapleton. “The FBI and our partners will continue to investigate those who engage in these types of financial fraud and ensure they are held accountable.”
“The role of IRS Criminal Investigation becomes even more important in embezzlement and fraud cases due to the complex financial transactions that can take time to unravel,” said Justin Campbell, Special Agent in Charge, Chicago Field Office. “We, along with our law enforcement partners, will vigorously pursue those who victimize their employers and violate the public trust, as demonstrated in today’s sentencing of Mr. Fruits.”