A Hopkins woman stole nearly $150,000 from clients of her estate sale business, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Thursday.

Mary Jane Thompson, 71, has been charged with one count of theft over $35,000. In the alleged scheme, which ran from June 2013 until this week, she failed to give $148,000 to her clients from the sale of their property.

“Thompson had built a solid business as MJ & Associates doing moving and estate sales for many years,” Freeman said in a prepared statement. “Why she suddenly started to cheat her clients is not clear, but it doesn’t matter. Those clients were counting on the money, she held onto it, and we will now prosecute her vigorously.”

Thompson followed the same pattern in nearly every case, the charges say. She would sign a contract with a client to oversee the sale of their estates or parts of their personal property, and commit to pay the client 70 percent of the proceeds within 30 days, according to the criminal complaint. However, she simply stopped paying, despite efforts by her clients to get their money, authorities say.

JOHN REINAN