PHOENIX — A business owner has been sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison after being found guilty of defrauding 40 families in Arizona in a real estate scheme.

State prosecutors say Montecristo Properties owner Francisco Aguirre has been ordered to pay $2 million in restitution to the victims.

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office says Aguirre pleaded guilty in January to one count of fraudulent schemes, one count of theft and two counts of forgery.

Prosecutors say Aguirre defrauded mostly Spanish-speaking families who wanted to buy homes from 2013 to 2015.

The families believed they were purchasing homes from Aguirre, giving him money for a down payment.

Authorities say the families later found out that they never owned a home or had a title to one.