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Charles Eric Johnson
courtesy of Iredell Co. Sheriff's Office

Travel Agent Accused of Scamming Elderly Victims

43-year-old Charles Eric Johnson of Birchwood Road in Statesville has been arrested by Iredell County Sheriff’s Officers on six counts of felony obtaining property by false pretenses.

Events leading to Johnson’s arrest began in July of last year when a fraud report was filed with the Sheriff’s Office after an 83-year-old victim reported that she, along with other elderly victims, had been scammed after booking an Alaskan cruise through a travel agency in Statesville. The victim said that exactly one day prior to her scheduled departure date, the owner of the travel agency cancelled the trip due to personal reasons and would not issue an immediate refund. Charles Eric Johnson was the owner of the travel agency, Carolina Blue Tours.

Throughout the investigation, additional victims were identified and interviewed. Detectives learned that Johnson had taken payments in excess of $25,000 from the victims. In an effort to identify how the victim’s payments were used, search warrants were obtained for Johnson’s financial records, as well as his company’s account history with Royal Caribbean, the cruise line hosting the Alaskan cruise.

Detectives learned that Johnson transferred business funds into his personal accounts and funded personal trips from his business account. Johnson knowingly filed a fraudulent dispute with his financial institution in which he denied taking a personal trip to New York, which led to him receiving approximately $4,030 as a result of the dispute.

During a review of Johnson’s account history with Royal Caribbean, Detectives learned that Johnson failed to book reservations for the victims who had paid for the Alaskan cruise. Johnson personally attended the cruise after informing the victims that the cruise had been cancelled.

Johnson was arrested on December 19 and taken to the Iredell County Detention Center. He was given a $6,000 secured bond. Johnson will appear in District Court on January 17.