INDIANAPOLIS — A Greenwood man will spend the next six years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $14 million over the course of four and a half years.

The Kloiber family didn’t know much about the trucking industry but knew that they wanted to get involved. Court documents state the family had previously invested in a long-haul trucking company, and in 2014 decided to form a company of their own.

When the Kloibers met Daniel R. Fruits II, who was the operations manager of the company they hoped they found a trustworthy partner. The document said Fruits has long worked in the trucking industry and claimed to have grown up in a trucking family.

The family started Secure Transit, LLC in January 2015, hiring Fruits as a contractor to help with the start-up and operation of the new company. The document said he eventually became an employee and in 2017 the Kloibers made him part owner.

The documents state the Kloibers trusted Fruits with periodic investment funding and with company funds to pay for business expenses and a salary.

However, bank records show that after the Kloibers invested money into Secure Transit, Fruits would go on a shopping spree.

“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,” said FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Herbert J. Stapleton.

It wasn’t until mid-2019 that the Kloibers started to get concerned about Fruits. While the company had reportedly grown rapidly, Fruits wasn’t being responsive to the family and slow to provide documentation.

The document said the family asked Fruits to have an accountant review the financial statements. Fruits sent them a letter that he said was from a Greenwood-based accountant.

The document looked like everything was in order, so they invested more money to buy new Freightliner trucks. Several weeks later, they were still having trouble reaching Fruits, so they contacted the accountant directly.

The issue, the document states, is that the accountant didn’t write the letter or prepare the financial statements. Bank records confirm the financial statements were bogus.

In reality, the family’s business was making far less money than Fruits claimed.

The government’s sentencing memorandum states that bank records and emails revealed that Fruits had been ripping off the Kloibers since almost the start of the company.

“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.

For example, the document states that after the Kloibers invested $4,760,000 in March 2017, Fruits:

  • Bought a horse farm and a new residence ($850,000);
  • Made payments on the mortgage on his prior residence ($80,000);
  • Bought a Renegade Ikon RV and Cargo Mate trailer ($559,270);
  • Made payments on 2 loans on a 2016 Chevrolet Corvette ($110,600);
  • Made payments on a loan on a 2015 Infiniti QX80 SUV ($20,000);
  • Paid off the loan on a 2016 Polaris RZR off-road vehicle ($20,400.43);
  • Paid off the loan on a 2014 Dodge Ram 1500 Pickup Truck ($36,168.85)
  • Bought multiple tractors, mowers, and farm equipment ($61,807.48)
  • Bought 3 Rolex watches ($90,467.75).

None of the purchases were authorized, and if the Kloibers knew how Fruits was spending their investment, they would have fired him, terminated the business relationship, and sought legal remedies.

The court records show that not only was Fruits lying to the Kloibers, he was also submitting false documents to Fifth Third Bank to try to get a $432,000 loan to buy real estate near his horse farm.

Fifth Third told Fruits that his monthly debt payments were too high and he needed to pay off some of his debt. Instead, the document said he sent Fifth Third a letter claiming to be from a loan officer saying his loans had been paid in full.

This con was unraveled when Fifth Third contacted the other bank about the payoff letter. The other bank quickly determined that the letter was false and their loan officer’s signature was forged.

The document said Fifth Third went back to Fruits to see if there was a misunderstanding and he sent them another fake document.

“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.

Fruits was arrested in December 2020 and released on pretrial conditions. However, not even a year after his arrest, the document said Fruits was charged for felony check deception and felony theft in Hendricks County.

Fruits eventually pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering.

“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.”

The property subject to forfeiture in the case includes, but is not limited to:

  • Greenwood horse farm
  • Greenwood home
  • 2019 Dodge Ram 1500
  • 2019 Ford F350 Super Duty
  • $32,000 in U.S. Currency in lieu of show horse
  • 2011 Shadow Mountain Horse Trailer
  • 2020 Roubaix SW Di2
  • 18k White Gold Two Row diamond Cuff Bangle
  • 2017 Frontier Mower-Rear Chain
  • Remington 870 20-gauge shotgun
  • Rugged Suppressors Obsidian .45 caliber silencer
  • Sig Sauer SRD762-QD 762 caliber Silencer
  • Barrett Firearms MFG Co
  • Silencerco, LLC Hybrid 46 46 caliber silencer
  • Silencerco, LLC Omega K 9mm silencer

Court records also show the following property was included in the plea agreement, but will not be forfeited as it was not located by investigators

  • Miscellaneous Jewelry, including:
    • 2020 Epic S-Works AXS
    • Rolex Wristwatch
    • Rolex Wristwatch
    • Rolex Wristwatch
  • The Ford F350 will not be forfeited as it was returned to the lienholder.
  • Tag Hauer Wristwatch
  • Rolex Wristwatch
  • Breitling Wristwatch
  • Hauer Wristwatch
  • Tag Hauer Wristwatch
  • Rolex Yacht Master Wristwatch
  • Miscellaneous equipment, including:
    • 2017 Frontier Rotary Tiller
    • 2017 John Deere x739 (Tractor)
    • 2017 John Deere 60HC (Mower Deck)
    • 2015 John Deere Tractor
    • 2017 John Deere TX 4×2 (Gator)
    • 2013 John Deere 4×2 (Gator)
    • 2016 John Deere H180X Std Loader
    • 2017 John Deere GM1084 Rear Grooming Mower
    • 2017 Frontier Post Hole Digger
    • 2017 John Deere Farm Loader
    • 2017 Frontier Fixed Palletfrk Global Carrier
    • 2017 Frontier Gbl Ldr
    • 2017 John Deere Lift-Type Rotary Cutter
  • Miscellaneous Firearms, including:
    • Sig Sauer Inc P226 Tac Op
    • Sig Sauer Inc P226 Legion
    • Sig Sauer Inc P229 Legion
    • Kimber Solo CDP
    • Magnum Research Desert Eagle
    • FWS 40
    • KRISS Model Vector Pistol
    • Sig Sauer Inc Model RMCX 16B Rifle
    • FNH (Fabrique Nationale Herstal) Model FNX-9 Pistol
    • Kimber custom II Pistol