Greenwood man sentenced to 6 years for fraud, money laundering

A Greenwood horse farm owner who pleaded guilty this summer to federal charges of wire fraud and money laundering was sentenced to six years in federal prison.

Daniel Fruits, 47, was first indicted on nearly 20 federal charges in December 2020, including 10 counts of wire fraud, six counts of money laundering, two counts of making false statements to a federally insured bank and one count of mail fraud.

Fruits then pleaded guilty in July this year to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. In exchange for the guilty plea, the 17 remaining charges were dropped. He received his sentence Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana from Judge Sara Evans Barker.

As part of the sentence, Barker ordered Fruits to be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for three years following his release from federal prison and ordered Fruits to pay $14.3 million in restitution to his victims and a $14.3 million money judgment.

Federal prosecutors say 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, a trucking company based in Greenwood.

In 2017, Fruits became a 10% owner of the business. Between January 2015 and June 2019, the Kloiber family made 16 investments totaling $14.3 million in Secure Transit, according to court documents.

Throughout that time, Fruits repeatedly lied about the company’s financial health, who its customers were and what the money invested was being used for. He allegedly sent the investor fake customer sales contracts and falsified financial statements. Fruits would often ask for additional investments — sometimes in the millions of dollars — to buy trucks or other business-related expenses.

Fruits instead used the invested money to fund personal items for his “lavish lifestyle,” according to court documents. He allegedly spent $880,000 to buy the horse farm, Travis Creek Stables, on Stones Crossing Road in Greenwood, and his personal home, where he used the investor’s money for renovations and a pool, court documents said.

He spent $55,000 on a horse, $33,000 on a horse trailer, $560,000 on an RV and trailer, $111,000 on a Corvette, about $120,000 on four Rolex watches, $23,000 on payments for two Ferraris and $30,000 on payments to two escorts. He also bought 10 guns, court documents show.

Additionally, Fruits attempted a mortgage fraud scheme on Fifth Third Bank. In late 2018, Fruits made false statements to Fifth Third Bank to secure a $432,000 mortgage. He submitted falsified paperwork twice to show that loans from another bank had been paid off, when they had not been, according to court documents.

Fruits was arrested on Dec. 16, 2020. On Aug. 18, 2021, a federal magistrate judge revoked Fruits’ conditions of pretrial release and ordered him detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshal, after finding that Fruits had committed several violations, including being charged with new fraud offenses in state court.

“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, in a statement. “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.”