LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- A group of Arkansans are out hundreds and some thousands of dollars after a woman named Tracy Graf out of Collin County, Texas allegedly scammed them with a Carnival Cruise Line deal through Facebook.
Kim McCauley said she vetted Graf before she signed up for the cruise so she thought it was safe.
“I called the travel agency that she was associated with and they said she was an agent and so we took up the offer,” she said.
McCauley believed Graf because of her time invested into the cruise group on Facebook.
“She really invested a lot of time. So, I was not suspicious at all,” she said.
Both McCauley and Amanda Moore said Graf made a Facebook page for all the people going on the alleged cruise. That Facebook group had close to 200 people.
McCauley said Graf would spend hours a day on Facebook putting together people's rooms and getting them information
“She said everyone would have their booking numbers by May 9th. Well, May 9th came and left and no one had a booking number,” recalled McCauley.
The group said when the booking numbers kept getting delayed, they got suspicious.
“We started another Facebook group so Tracy wouldn't know we were starting to figure things out,” said Moore.
McCauley and Moore told us that Graf stopped all social media mid-May on the Facebook group and wouldn't return their calls, so the group turned things over to police.
The Collin County Sheriff’s Department in Texas opened an investigation into the alleged cruise scam. The Sheriff’s department arrested Tracy Graff on June 21 for a felony theft charge. Graf was released June 24 on a $25,000 bond, but is due back in court on August 11.
Carnival Cruise Lines said in a statement that they are aware of this matter and have provided full cooperation to law enforcement.
But this is not the first time Graf has been charged with fraud.
Court records show she was currently on community supervision for a guilty plea in 2013. In that case, she was charged with forgery and credit card abuse.
We reached out to Graf for a statement, but she did not return any calls.
A lot of people in the group used the Square app to transfer the money to Graf. Once they realized they was no cruise, they tried to get their money back. But all they were left with was a message that Tracey Graf's cash tag was unavailable.
Moore said a lot of people can’t get their banks to refund them either.
“They’re saying we need to go through Visa, but Visa isn't backing it up. It should be services not rendered because we didn’t get a cruise,” said Moore.
“We're just left now not knowing where to go for our money or if we'll ever get it back,” said McCauley.
Both women said they want their money back and want the person responsible for this alleged scam to realize what they've done.
“There was a surprise engagement that was going to happen there," McCauley said of another person who was affected. "Another girl wanted to spread ashes while we were there and my daughter’s boyfriend was graduating so we wanted to take him on a trip. She's just taken a lot away from people.”
Moore said she hopes Graf takes this as a learning lesson since "she didn't learn the first time."
Collin County Sheriff’s Department said that deputies are currently investigating 58 cases in this alleged cruise scam. They also said if you feel like you're a victim to the alleged scam, contact them at (972) 547-5100.
The Arkansas Attorney General's office said they're also looking into this matter to see what they can do. They also encourage everyone to read tips by clicking here.
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