BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Just ask Anthony and Chris Simms of Simms Builders who decided to steal over $241,500 from their victims by contracting with them to build their home and then never doing a single thing toward its construction.
While there were numerous complaints to the Better Business Bureau about the contracting company, the victims in this case contacted the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Unit and Agent Harry Bermudez went to work to get Anthony and Christopher Simms behind bars.
Sadly, because of the way the law is structured, “contractor fraud” is far too often civil in nature, but when you just flat out steal people’s money and crush the idea of building their dream home, we give you a new home at the beautifully constructed “Ivey’s Iron Bar Lodge.”
The case started back in January of 2021 when the victims signed a contract with Simms Builders for a home to be built at a total cost of approximately $1,610,400.00.
The victims provided 10% ($161,040) to Simms Builders at the time of signing and an additional 5% ($80,520) when the permit was pulled.
The victims were then told that a retaining wall needed to be built prior to construction, which of course was not included in the initial contract.
The victims then paid another $43,000 to Simms Builders for the wall that once partially constructed and inspected, resulted in a construction lien being levied against their property as Simms Builders never paid the retaining wall contractor.
At this point, having invested a total of approximately $241,560 with Simms Builders, the victims reached out to Anthony Simms, who eventually paid the masonry contractor for the construction of the retaining wall and the construction lien was removed.
By February of 2022, Simms Builders stopped communicating with the victims and never began the construction of their new home. The only work that was ever done was the construction of a retaining wall which was not part of the original agreement.
Anthony Simms would later admit to BCSO Agents that he and his brother, Christopher Simms signed an agreement to build a home for the victims in Melbourne Beach, but because of financial difficulties, he and his brother were unable to build the home and were also unable to refund the victims their money.
While Anthony and Christopher Simms may not be men who honor their agreement, Agent Harry Bermudez kept his promise to find justice for the victims who lost over $241,560, to these thieves.
As such, Harry obtained an arrest warrant for Anthony Simms and his brother Christopher Simms for Organized Fraud in excess of $50,000 and locked them up at the Brevard County Jail where they belong.
Sadly, their assigned bonds were only $5,000, but trust me when I tell you that it would have been a lot different if they ever start letting me set the bond amounts.
Great Job Agent Bermudez and our Economic Crimes Unit for doing everything you can to help the victims in this case.
– Sheriff Wayne Ivey