N4T Investigators: Senior Grad Trips being investigated - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: Senior Grad Trips being investigated

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Vail - Cienega High School graduates enjoyed their Disneyland trip last May. It happened thanks to community donations after their tour company's buses never showed up. The Cienega group had paid a company called Senior Grad Trips a total of $40,000, $500 each. Now, seven months later, no one has received a refund from company owner, George Barragan.

Mike Ulrich paid for his daughter Patricia to go to Disney and has been trying to get authorities to charge Barragan. "We would like to see something happen to George Barragan," Ulrich told the News 4 Tucson Investigators. "We would like to see him prosecuted. I think 'frustration' would be the best term to sum it up. We would prefer they arrest him today, but we understand the legal system has to take its toll." 

Two other groups of high school grads, one in northern Virginia, the other in Philadelphia, were also allegedly stiffed by Barragan and haven't received refunds. The Philadelphia grads paid $1700 a piece for a vacation at Breezes resort in the Bahamas. In total, the three groups paid Senior Grad Trips $90,000.

 Sources tell the News 4 Tucson Investigators that Barragan is under investigation by the attorneys general in Texas, where Barragan lives, and in Arizona.

Molly Gerbi paid $500 for her daughter Brianna's Disney trip with the Cienega grads. Molly Gerbi said, "My main purpose [in speaking out] is to make sure that this guy is off the streets so other people don't fall victim."

And there's more: Barragan is reportedly under investigation in Pennsylvania for allegedly stealing $18,000 off the credit card of a mom whose child went on a graduates trip. We don't know where Barragan is now, but he's caused more anger by posting videos and photos on social media as recently as last week, of him partying in Cancun and other places with young women, and pitching new business. 

In one video we saw online, a girl says, "Class of 2018, we're traveling with Senior Grad trips. Come to Cancun and get lit."

Brianna Gerbi, Molly's daughter, saw some of Barragan's social media posts and said, "I think it's just like he's throwing it in our faces saying, 'Now that i have your money, I get to do all this and this and get to go party, get to go to fancy hotels.' and it's just wrong."

Better Business Bureau records show Barragan owns several companies besides Senior Grad Trips under the umbrella of "EB Worldwide, LLC, " including  Exhibit Tours, Cancun Urban Fest, "Disney Grad Night Tours, and Spring Break All Access. They have an F rating with the BBB.

Last  May, we called Barragan... He blamed the Cienega failure on an employee he said he fired. When we asked him where the $40,000 is, he said, "The $40,000 is in our account to give it back to them. So, that's what we're processing now."

That was seven months ago. Since no one has received a refund, we called Barragan again last week. His voice greeting on his cell phone said, "Hi, you've reached George from Exhibit Tours. Due to our summer program, I will be out of the country. Please leave me a detailed message and I'll try to get a hold of you as soon as possible." His voice mailbox was full. We left a message on his company phone and have not heard back.

Mike Ulrich was asked what he thought would be a fair sentence if Barragan is charged and found guilty. "Fifteen, 20 years," Ulrich said, "That would be perfect for me." Asked what he would tell Barragan if he could talk to him, Ulrich said, "Return the money, as quickly as possible. Do the right thing, report to the authorities and let's get this resolved."

We will let you know if the authorities take any action against George Barragan. Unless the government steps in, the chances of anyone getting a refund seems, at this point, highly unlikely.

If you have a story you'd like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.

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