Indiana man sentenced to 6 years in prison for embezzling $14 million from employer

By Daja Stowe

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A Greenwood man has been sentenced to six years in prison for embezzling $14 million from his former employer, according to a media release Tuesday.

Daniel Fruits, 47, was hired to run and run a trucking company and defrauded his employer of more than $14 million over a period of 4.5 years. From January 2015 to June 2019, a Kentucky-based company invested over $14 million in the trucking company.

Fruits used the money invested to fund his own lavish lifestyle, including buying real estate, several vehicles including two Ferraris and a Corvette, farm equipment including a horse trailer, a show horse, several Rolex watches, firearms, private jet flights and getting high -End escort services.

Fruits prepared false and misleading accounts to hide its thefts. According to the press release, he sent these statements to his employer to encourage additional investment in the trucking company.

In 2019, Fruits’ employer asked for an accountant to audit the trucking company’s financial statements and provide a report. Fruits fabricated a letter purportedly written by an accountant. When the employer contacted the accountant, they learned that the letter was false and fictitious.

Fruits was fired the next day and the victims contacted law enforcement.

Investigators revealed that Fruits attempted to steal $432,000 from Fifth Third Bank by providing false documents to secure a mortgage. Fruits conducted a title laundering scheme, fraudulently removing Ally Financials’ lien from a $69,607 truck.

Fruits was arrested on December 16, 2020. On August 18, 2021, a federal judge revoked his pre-trial release terms and ordered him to be detained in the custody of the US Marshal after finding that Fruits had committed multiple violations, including being charged with new counts of fraud in state court .

“Mr. Fruits stole an outrageous sum of money to encourage an extravagant lifestyle and covered up his crimes with years of lies and false documents,” said Zachary A. Myers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana these destroy the finances and safety of businesses and individuals. Today’s hefty prison sentence demonstrates that this U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the IRS-CI, and all of our law enforcement partners will work tirelessly to bring these criminals to justice.”

US District Judge Sara Evans Baker ordered Fruits to serve three years’ probation after his release and to pay his victims $14,339,252.04 in compensation.

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