A Texas-based travel company was ordered to pay out $451,000 to victims who paid for a high school senior trip that didn't happen, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said.
Brnovich filed a consumer fraud lawsuit in July after Cienega High School students and parents complained that senior trip travel packages they paid for were canceled and not refunded. The families paid $40,000 to EB Worldwide and its CEO, George Barragan.
According to the lawsuit, parents of students weren't notified that the trip was canceled until after the trip was scheduled to start. Dozens of students were left stranded in the parking lot as they waited for a bus that would never come.
In a default judgment, Barragan and its company were ordered to pay $40,000 in restitution to the Cienega families, as well as $400,000 in civil penalties and $11,000 in attorney fees to the state.
EB Worldwide and Barragan are also banned from selling, advertising or marketing travel packages in the state.
"Scams of this magnitude are particularly despicable," Brnovich said in a statement. "Consumers who are looking forward to a vacation can be highly susceptible to deceptive business practices because they may not know what signs to look for or what questions to ask."