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9:10 AM Sun, Nov. 18th

Phoenix-area realtor convicted in a short sale fraud scheme

James Thornton (Attorney General's Office)

James Thornton (Attorney General's Office)

PHOENIX (AP) — Authorities say a Phoenix-area real estate agent has been convicted of fraudulent schemes and theft for defrauding two banks in a short-sale home scam.

State prosecutors say James Thornton faces up to 12 1/2 years in prison when he's sentenced March 16.

Thornton was the listing real estate agent for the owner of a Mesa home who was in default on two mortgages in 2012.

Prosecutors say Thornton sold the property via short sale to his parents' limited liability company for $580,000.

However, banks weren't told there had been other offers to purchase the home for hundreds of thousands of dollars more.

Days later, Thornton became his parents' listing agent and eventually sold the home for more than $1 million.

Prosecutors say Thornton's parents made nearly $541,000 on the sale.