‘I had no tickets, I had no itinerary’: Alleged victims talk about Alaskan cruise case

For the first time, Channel 9 is hearing from people who say a travel agent tricked them out of money meant for an Alaskan Cruise.

Katrina Dema says her parents always talked about going with each other but never did. “She passed away about six years ago, so I finally talked him into going on the cruise,” she told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke.

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She says her group of four paid Carolina Blue Tours and the owner, Eric Johnson, about $10,000.

Kathy Strantz says she paid $2,400.

Both women told Stoogenke they had questions as the trip neared, so they reached out to Johnson.

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“I had no tickets, I had no itinerary, I had nothing, and then he called me on Tuesday,” Dema said. “We were supposed to leave on Sunday.” Obviously, they didn’t.

“I called and Eric said, ‘Oh, it’s canceled.’ And I said, ‘What?’” Strantz said.

Strantz says she had even less notice than Dema, just 14 hours. “We were ready to walk out the door. I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t called him,” she said.

Both women say they hounded Johnson for money back. Strantz says he wrote her a bad check and then a good one for the full amount. Dema says he reimbursed her $1,000, but not the other $9,000.

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Iredell County deputies charged Johnson with felony obtaining property by false pretense. They say he never booked the reservations, transferred money into his personal accounts, and told people the trip was canceled, but went himself.

Action 9 tried to get Johnson’s side of the story multiple times. He did not respond in time for this report.

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