Indianapolis – Acting U.S. Attorney John E. Childress today announced that Daniel R. Fruits, 46, of Greenwood, Indiana, has been indicted by a federal grand jury for his alleged role in three separate fraud schemes, including an investor fraud of nearly $ 14 million, an attempted mortgage fraud and a vehicle title wash scheme.
“This financial investor gave his hard-earned money to someone he thought he could trust,” Childress said. “Instead, the victim’s money ended up in the hands of a self-centered thief who only cared about his or her best interests. Living a life of fraud is inexcusable and always comes to an end. “
The indictment alleges Fruits defrauded a Kentucky investor, who was also Fruits’s employer, out of nearly $ 14 million. In 2015, the investor founded a trucking company, Secure Transit, and hired Fruits to manage it. Over the next four and a half years, the investor would invest around $ 14 million in the business.
During this time, Fruits lied repeatedly about the company’s financial health, who its customers were and what the money was spent on. On several occasions, Fruits allegedly sent the investor sales contracts of fictitious customers and falsified financial statements showing inflated profits of the company. At the same time, Fruits reportedly asked the investor for additional investments, sometimes in the millions of dollars, allegedly for the purchase of trucks or other business expenses.
Fruits spent a significant portion of the money on their own purchases and personal payments. He would have spent about $ 880,000 to buy a horse farm and his personal residence, $ 560,000 on a motorhome and trailer, over $ 111,000 on a Corvette, about $ 90,000 on three Rolex watches, about 55,000 $ on a horse, $ 33,000 on a horse trailer, $ 23,000 on payments for two Ferraris, and $ 30,000 on payments for two escorts.
In addition to investor fraud, Fruits attempted to carry out a mortgage fraud scheme on Fifth Third Bank. Specifically, in late 2018, Fruits made false statements to Fifth Third Bank to secure a mortgage for $ 432,000. He twice presented forged documents purporting to show that loans from another bank had been repaid when they had not.
Finally, Fruits carried out a title wash scheme to remove the banking lien from the title of a truck it purchased. He financed the truck with a loan from Ally Financial for more than $ 69,000. Several months later, he sent the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles an allegedly falsified letter from Ally Financial stating that the loan had been repaid and the lien should be released.
The loan had not been repaid and Ally Financial never wrote this letter. As a result, BMV issued Fruits a clear, free title for the truck, which Fruits then sold for $ 48,000, without repaying the loan to Ally Financial.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.
“This indictment sends a strong message that the FBI will aggressively investigate those who commit such massive financial fraud and rob their employer to line their pockets and fund a lavish lifestyle,” the agent said. Special in charge of FBI Indianapolis, Paul Keenan. “The FBI and our law enforcement partners will always prosecute those who take advantage of others through illegal and criminal behavior.”
“The IRS enforces the country’s tax laws, but is also particularly interested in cases where someone, for their own benefit and greed, has taken what belongs to others,” said Tamera Cantu, special agent. Acting IRS Criminal Investigation Officer, Chicago. Field office. “Using our agent’s financial investigation expertise, we tracked the money and helped unravel the fraud and deception carried out by Mr. Fruits. We are delighted with the successful resolution of this investigation through the efforts of cooperation from our law enforcement partner and the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Indiana.
An indictment is a collection of allegations and does not in itself constitute proof of guilt. An accused is presumed innocent and has the right to a fair trial during which the government must prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
In November 2020, Acting United States Attorney John E. Childress renewed a strategic plan designed to shape and strengthen the district’s response to its most important public safety challenges. This lawsuit demonstrates the Bureau’s strong commitment to prosecuting complex and long-standing fraud schemes. (See United States Attorney’s Office, Southern Indiana District Strategic Plan 5.1)