JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Nearly two months after the I-TEAM uncovered a nationwide travel scandal centered on a Jacksonville man, state regulators have increased the fine he faces for operating as a travel agent without a license.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has now received a total of 75 complaints against Juan Arteaga. The complaints accuse him of taking a total of $432,556 from people across the country to purchase plane tickets, hotels, cruises and other vacation packages without booking the trips as promised or returning their money.
In January, FDACS, which regulates the state's travel industry, filed an administrative complaint against Arteaga for conducting business as a seller of travel without having a license from the state. The complaint carried a $1,000 fine. The I-TEAM has now learned the state has entered a final order in the case, and the fine has increased to $5,000.
In addition, the office of Attorney General Ashley Moody confirms it has received 11 complaints about Arteaga that are currently under review.
The I-TEAM has been looking for Arteaga to get his side of the story, but when we finally found him inside the garage of a Fort Caroline home -- the same home that he sold in a deed in lieu of foreclosure transaction -- Arteaga refused to answer any of our questions and closed the garage door.