A jury found South Beach realtor Kevin Tomlinson guilty on extortion charges after he was accused of illegally demanding $ 800,000 from rivals Jill Hertzberg and Jill Eber, the high profile luxury real estate duo known as “The Jills.”
The sentencing today was first reported by the Miami Herald. Tomlinson, a first time convict, could face up to 30 years in prison, according to the report.
The success of the duo had elicited suspicion from rivals like Tomlinson, according to the report, so in April 2015, he filed a complaint with the Miami Association of Realtors that alleged the Jills had been manipulating data on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
The complaint reportedly detailed that the Jills had been hiding properties that had been on the market for more than six months, which made it appear as thought their sales track record was more impressive than it really was. It also prevented other brokers like Tomlinson from seeing potential clients whose listings otherwise would have been expiring in the MLS.
Tomlinson reportedly demanded $ 250,000 from the Jills, then upped the amount to $ 400,000, which was secretly recorded by police. Tomlinson’s defense claimed the money was an attempt at settling before a potential lawsuit, according to the Miami Herald.
Ultimately, the jury believed the Jills, and Tomlinson was found guilty after a week-long trail.