Suburban real estate agent charged with stealing $145K from clients

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Harry Simons | DuPage County state’s attorney’s office

A west suburban real estate agent is facing felony charges, accused of stealing $145,000 in earnest money from at least 12 clients.

Harry Simons, 48, is charged with five counts of felony theft for the scheme lasting between February 2013 and February 2014, according to the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office. Simons worked at County Line RE/MAX in Burr Ridge during that time.

Prosecutors said Simons accepted deposits totaling $145,300 from clients purchasing a home. But instead of using the money for its intended purpose, he kept the money for himself, according to authorities.

Prosecutors also claim Simons wrote himself unauthorized checks from the agency’s account for business and personal expenses. Other brokers at the company discovered the scheme when they noticed the shortages.

“If these allegations are proven true, simple greed led Harry Simons to steal thousands of dollars from unsuspecting home buyers who had placed their trust in him,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in a prepared statement.

A judge issued a warrant for Simons’ arrest on March 18, and he turned himself in to authorities Friday, the state’s attorney’s office said.

Simons, of the 7900 block of William Drive in Willowbrook, was ordered held on a $300,000 bond at a hearing Saturday, the state’s attorney’s office said.

Burr Ridge police, the Chicago Office of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Office of Inspector General and the state’s attorney’s office conducted the investigation that resulted in the charges.

The most serious charge against him carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, the state’s attorney’s office said. Simons will be arraigned May 4 at the Wheaton courthouse.

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His wife Joanne also did hair. Their sons swept up. Their daughter did makeup. Many relatives and friends worked there during the 25 years the family operated the business.