JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Four months after the I-TEAM uncovered a nationwide travel scandal centered on a Jacksonville man, the FBI has officially taken over the investigation.
Families across the country accuse Juan Arteaga of taking their money to book cruises, flights, hotels and vacation packages at a discounted price, but learned their trips were not booked and their money wasn't returned.
Following the I-TEAM's first story on Arteaga in January, more complaints from more families started coming in and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) was looking into the allegations. To date, FDACS, the agency that regulates Florida's travel industry, has received 77 complaints from families in 15 states claiming they lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to Arteaga.
FDACS fined Arteaga $5,000 last month for operating as a travel agent without a license, and late Wednesday afternoon, confirmed to the I-TEAM it has now turned the case over to the FBI -- making it a federal investigation moving forward.
To make a complaint about Arteaga, call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324).
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.