(MIAMI, FL) — Kevin Tomlinson, a former South Beach real estate agent, was sentenced in late August on two counts of extortion for demanding $800,000 from rival luxury relators, Jill Eber and Jill Hertzberg, also known as “the Jills.”
The state’s sentencing guidelines, while not mandatory, called for a minimum prison term of 19 months. However, Tomlinson won’t be serving time behind bars.
Judge Milton Hirsch of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court sentenced Tomlinson to 15 years of probation. Tomlinson was also sentenced to two years of “community control,” a form of house arrest, and was stripped of his real estate license.
According to the Miami Herald, back in April 2015, Tomlinson filed a complaint with the Miami Association of Realtors stating that the Jills had been manipulating home data on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). He then demanded money from Eber and Hertzberg, threatening to ruin their careers if he wasn’t paid.
At the sentencing, both Eber and Hertzberg took responsibility for what one of their employees was doing with the properties. However, they stated that they were unaware of it at the time and had personally not used MLS in roughly two decades.
During the sentencing, the prosecutors asked for prison time. “This has been the most traumatic experience of my life both personally and professionally,” said Hertzberg.
However, the defense attorney argued that since Tomlinson had no previous criminal record and had committed an isolated crime, the punishment should not be severe.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to the court and to everyone involved, the Jills. I’m ready to go to the next step and take whatever comes and do that,” said Tomlinson.
While Tomlinson avoided prison, 15 years of probation, a lost real estate license, and a new criminal record is no light sentence.