JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Three weeks after the I-TEAM uncovered a nationwide travel scandal centered on a Jacksonville man, the number of official complaints filed against him has grown from two families in one state to 65 families in 14 states.
We've obtained all 65 complaints filed against Juan Arteaga with Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). The complaints accuse him of taking a total of $373,971 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.
The Office of Attorney General Ashley Moody confirms it has received 11 complaints about Arteaga that are currently under review.
FDACS is the agency that oversees the state's travel industry. While it investigates the allegations against him, the agency confirms to the I-TEAM Arteaga has been fined $1,000 for operating as a travel agent without a license. In Florida, a travel agent must have a license from the state -- something Arteaga has never had.
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.
His own brother-in-law, Mike, did want to talk us. He says the fallout for Arteaga has been severe. Mike says Arteaga's wife of 40 years left him after she saw our I-TEAM reports. Arteaga is also out of his job as a pharmaceutical rep for Bausch + Lomb. The company confirmed that, telling us in part, "We expect our employees to adhere to our company's Standards of Business Conduct."
We asked Mike what he thought should happen to his brother-in-law, in the wake of the allegations against him.
"Let the law take its course," he answered. "You know I have no intention for revenge or anything like that. I just feel for the people who were taken advantage of, and you know, I'm glad to see people like you step in and hopefully, you know, make it right for them."
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