Putnam County, FL— On March 20, 2017, Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) announced the arrest of Maria Constanza Shults in connection with an organized travel fraud scheme operating in north and central Florida. According to the FDLE led the investigation, Shults, 62, of Jacksonville¸ operated an organized scheme defrauding a total of 27 known victims of more than $100,000.
The scheme targeted Catholic parishioners wishing to travel to the Holy Land. Shults collected payments for trips that never materialized and no money was refunded. Six of the victims were located in Putnam County and they originally reported the loss of their money to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office in December of 2014. That investigation led to other victims and the cases were eventually combined into one organized scheme to defraud investigation by the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution and FDLE. Shults is currently being held in the Putnam County Jail where she is booked on one count of organized scheme to defraud in excess of $50,000 and is being held on a $250,000 bond.