A Greenwood man who pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering after embezzling more than $14 million from his employer has been sentenced to six years in prison.
U.S. District Judge Sara Evans Barker also sentenced Daniel R. Fruits, 47, to three years of probation after his prison sentence and ordered him to pay $14.4 million in restitution to his victims.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana announced the sentence Tuesday afternoon.
Fruits, who was arrested in December 2021, had been indicted on 19 criminal charges related to his alleged involvement in three separate fraud schemes.
Investigators say Fruits defrauded his employer, Greenwood-based trucking company Secure Transit LLC, out of more than $14 million over a four-year period and used the money to purchase real estate, two Ferraris, a Corvette, a show horse, multiple Rolex watches, firearms, private jet flights and high-end escort services.
“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,” FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Herbert J. Stapleton said in a written statement.
Fruits faced 10 counts of wire fraud and six counts of money laundering, plus two counts of making false statements to a federally insured bank related to an attempt at mortgage fraud and one count of mail fraud related to a vehicle title-washing scheme.
According to the indictment, Kloiber Management Services LLC, which is controlled by the Kloiber family of Lexington, Kentucky, hired Fruits in January 2015 to launch and operate Secure Transit. In 2017, Fruits became a 10% owner of the business.
Between January 2015 and June 2019, the indictment says, the Kloiber family made 16 investments totaling $14.3 million in Secure Transit.
Prosecutors allege Fruits “spent a significant portion of the money on his own personal purchases and payments,” including $880,000 to buy a home at 6555 W. Stones Crossing Road in Greenwood and a horse farm, Travis Creek Stables, at 6417 W. Stones Crossing Road.
Travis Creek’s website describes the facility as a 15-acre property offering an indoor riding arena, 27 horse stalls, a heated barn, horse training, lessons and a competition riding team.
Prosecutors say Fruits also spent $560,000 on a recreational vehicle and trailer; more than $110,000 on a Corvette; about $90,000 on three Rolex watches; $55,000 for a show horse named Practically Perfect in Every Way; $30,000 on escort services; and $23,000 on Ferrari payments.
Fruits also purchased farm equipment and firearms, among other items, the indictment says.
During this time, Fruits provided his employer with fictitious sales contracts and financial statements that “significantly overstated the company’s actual sales revenue and net income,” the indictment says.
Prosecutors also allege that Fruits was involved in an attempted mortgage fraud scheme in 2018. In that incident, Fruits is accused of submitting false paperwork in an attempt to secure a $432,000 mortgage from Fifth Third Bank.
In a third incident, prosecutors say Fruits orchestrated a title-washing scheme in which he falsely represented that a $69,000 truck loan had been paid off, which allowed him to sell the truck without repaying the loan he had secured from Ally Financial.
“Mr. Fruits stole an outrageous sum of money to fuel an extravagant lifestyle, concealing his crimes with years of lies and false documents,” said U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers in written remarks. “Complex economic crimes such as these devastate the finances and security of businesses and individuals.”