Feds: Missouri man pleads guilty in fraud scheme that swindled Darien investment company

The Abraham Ribicoff Federal Building and United States Courthouse on 450 Main St. in Hartford. A Missouri man pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering offenses Tuesday after he swindled a Darien-based investment firm out of about $4.5 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

The Abraham Ribicoff Federal Building and United States Courthouse on 450 Main St. in Hartford. A Missouri man pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering offenses Tuesday after he swindled a Darien-based investment firm out of about $4.5 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Viktoria Sundqvist / Hearst Connecticut Media /

HARTFORD — A Missouri man pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to a $7 million fraud scheme related to his commercial aircraft supply businesses, according to federal prosecutors.

As part of the scheme, Kyle J. Wine, 41, of Lee’s Summit, Mo., induced an investment firm based in Darien to put $4.5 million into the supposed acquisition and sale of an Airbus A320-231 airframe and two aircraft engines, U.S. Attorney Vanessa Roberts Avery said in a news release Tuesday.

Wine owned various commercial aircraft supply businesses, including JetPro International LLC, Nexus Aviation and Turbotech Partners. From at least 2018 to 2021, he “defrauded investors in aircraft-related transactions,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

“Wine used victims’ money to purchase aircraft airframes and engines, sold the aircraft airframes and engines, hid the resulting profits from his investors, and diverted invested funds for his personal use,” the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

While working with the Darien firm, Wine created fake domain names and email accounts to send fictitious correspondence to the victim investor. He used the correspondence to trick the firm into believing his company, Jet Pro, was attempting to sell the aircraft engines and airframe to buyers, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

It turns out Wine had already sold one engine for $2.45 million and the Airbus airframe for $1.3 million; however, he kept the profits for himself, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

“He never informed the victim investor of those sales and shared none of the proceeds of the sales with the investor,” the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

Wine used some of the invested funds to purchase another engine without the investor knowing, the U.S. Attorney’s office added.

In total, Wine’s fraud scheme caused 13 separate victims to lose about $7.15 million, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

Wine pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Omar A. Williams in Hartford on Tuesday to wire fraud and money laundering. He faces up to 30 years in prison for the offenses, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

As of Tuesday, Wine is released on bond pending his sentencing, which has not been scheduled.