Suspect arrested in theft of nearly $57,000 from Fenney Grill in The Villages

A suspect has been arrested in the theft of nearly $57,000 from the Fenney Grill in The Villages.

Eric Simanton, 36, was arrested Tuesday on three felony counts of fraud and larceny in a case in which he claimed he was trying to salvage his failed marriage.

The Fenney Grill

Eric Simanton

Last year, Simanton obtained the payroll checking account number from the only restaurant at the far southern end of The Villages and used it to siphon $56,910.88 from the restaurant’s bank account through a series of more than 300 transactions, according to an arrest report from the Wildwood Police Department. During a recorded interview with a detective, Simanton admitted he had used the money to pay household bills, insurance, electricity and credit cards. He said he knew it was wrong and did so to stay in a “failed marriage.”

Last year, Simanton and his wife divorced, according to documents on file in Marion County Court. That same year, he was also the subject of a missing person’s bulletin issued in 2019 by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

Eric Simanton last year had been the subject of a missing person investigation.

In addition, Simaton was arrested last year when he allegedly tried to pass a bogus check in the purchase of a home in Marion County. Simanton told law enforcement at the time he had attempted to buy the house to “impress” his ex-wife and he was doing “everything to stall (her) from leaving him,” according to an arrest report.

Simanton was arrested when he was 21 in Orlando when he tried to pass a fraudulent check for more than $1 million. At the time, he claimed he was a member of the wealthy Johnson & Johnson family.

Simanton was booked Tuesday on $55,000 bond at the Sumter County Detention Center.

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