August 27, 2021

Delaney Sexton
Contributing Editor

Fraud Friday – Former Bank Branch Manager Sentenced for Draining Friend’s Trust Accounts

“Ms. Fruits’ actions were full of greed and selfishness,” says Acting U.S. Attorney John E. Childress. “It is sad to see someone abuse a position of trust for self-enrichment, especially at the cost of children who have already lost so much. Fruits has been brought to justice and the victims will receive what is due to them.”

Susan Fruits from Indiana was the guardian and trustee of three children after one of her close friends died in 2015. Each of the children’s trust accounts held more than $50,000. In a period of eight months, she used the children’s money on unauthorized purchases. To hide her crimes, she would create and send false bank statements that showed the accounts had thousands of dollars in them. The accounts actually had zero dollars remaining.

In her other fraud scheme, she used her role as a branch manager for KeyBank to steal over $180,000 from the bank’s customers. She admitted to withdrawing money from the customers’ Certificate of Deposit accounts without their knowledge or consent. In order to do this, she would forge their signatures by digitally signing without the customers’ authorization. Using her role as branch manager, she would then approve the withdrawals.

She managed to steal more than $315,000 between her bank fraud and mail fraud schemes. Fruits was sentenced to three years in prison and two years of supervised release. Susan will also pay over $315,000 in restitution.

“This sentencing sends a clear message that targeting not only those you serve, but innocent children, comes with a price,” says FBI Indianapolis Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Middleton. “The FBI will continue to work with the United States Attorney’s Office to ensure those who choose to put personal greed ahead of the law are identified and brought to justice.”

Source:
DOJ Press Release