Arlington police have arrested a Silver Spring businessman and charged him with grand larceny for allegedly bilking a Turkish immigrant in a fraudulent business deal.
County detectives are also investigating Geary Simon, 28, in connection with 39 separate incidents "involving hundreds of thousands of dollars" where "people have had unfavorable business dealings with Simon and lost money," according to Arlington Detective Frank Soulier. Almost all the alleged victims, he said, are foreigners.
Simon, who describes himself as an official of the Commercial Development and Finance Corp. in Arlington as well as other companies in Washington and Nevada, has also been the object of at least seven civil suits in the last year and a half that have sought the recovery of money and damages. The suits were filed in Fairfax, Montgomery and Arlington county courts and in federal court in Alexandria.
A spokesman for the the State Corporation Commission in Richmond said yesterday that Commercial Development and Finance Corporation has never been licensed or registered to operate in Virginia.
Simon, through his attorneys, has maintained that he is innocent of any wrongdoing. Miller J. Poppleton, an attorney for Simon, said in an interview earlier this year that the civil suits against Simon were not unusual for a businessman.
In the Arlington case, a county grand jury charged Simon with bilking Atilla Kan of $6,374 in cash in "up front" money for a carry-out food business Simon was supposed to set up for Kan in Sterling, Va. But construction was never completed, the business was never formed and Kan never formed and Kan never got his money back, say Arlington investigators.
"It looked so pleasing to me," said Kan, who came to America with 35 cents in 1965 and has been struggling with two losing businesses when he met Simon late in 1979. "His approach was fantastic. I'm a very small guy. I live from day to day. Now I know the whole deal was just an unbelieveable fraud."
In a federal lawsuit filed in June on behalf of Soo Chul Chae and Young Sook Chae, a Korean couple, court papers allege that the Chaes paid Simon $20,000 late in 1980 to establish a retail shop in a McLean office building by April 1, 1981. The suit, which demands $480,000 in damages, alleges that Simon agreed to obtain all the necessary licenses and papers to start the business when he never intended to do so.
Simon, who was arrested Wednesday night in Silver Spring, is already under three years' probation for a July 23, 1980, Montgomery County conviction on charges of larceny after trust, accepting money to do something and then not doing it, in a Maryland home improvement scam.
According to Gloria Marconi, the victim in the case where Simon was convicted, Simon was given $20,000 to refurbish her Silver Spring home. "After he got through with it it looked like hell," Marconi said.