ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Three people were arrested in connection with illegal telemarketing operations in central Florida, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Friday.
In a press release, the agency said after an investigation of consumer complaints the department determined that Arcagen, Inc., Excellent Marketing Solutions and Best Caribbean Trader, Inc., were operating illegally. The owners of all three businesses were arrested.
According to the agency, Best Caribbean Trader, Inc., which operates out of Kissimmee, is suspected of defrauding 12 people of more than $500,000. Owner Schneider Oreste, 34, of Kissimmee, was arrested and charged with several counts, among them are grand theft first degree and exploitation of an elderly person or disabled person. Oreste was booked into the Osceola County Jail.
Christian Andres Serna, 30, owner of Excellent Marketing Solutions, was arrested and booked into the Orange County Jail. The FDACS said the company was unlicensed to conduct commercial telephone sales. They said they Excellent Marketing Solutions employed 12 unlicensed commercial telephone salespersons.
Serna is charged with 12 counts of employing unlicensed commercial telephone salesperson, and one count of commercial telephone solicitation without a telephone sales license. All of the charges against Serna are third-degree felonies, according to FDACS.
The third person arrested, Gary Michael Martin, 48, of Sanford, owns Arcagen, Inc.
According to investigators, three unlicensed people were found working at Martin's Altamonte Springs company. Martin is charged with three counts of employing unlicensed commercial telephone salesperson. He was booked into the Seminole County Jail.
Channel 9's Renee Stoll discovered online posts dating back to 2012 complaining about Arcagen.
Written scripts seen at the offices of Martin's company appear to tell workers how to respond when talking with someone who believed they were being scammed.