Most college students are counting down the days until they can head out on Spring Break, but a group of Middle Tennessee State University students won't be seeing the beach as they had once expected.
They blame a deal that was too good to be true, and the scam may have targeted schools all over the state.
MTSU student Tiara Battle was looking forward to soaking up some sun and playing in the sand in Florida next week for Spring Break.
"Panama City is the epic place for college students to go and relax," Battle said.
However, when she tried to finalize things for the Tennessee Spring Break 2013 trip she had booked through a website called Eventbrite, she says the promoter, James "Jimmy" Woodruff, was nowhere to be found.
"The event from Eventbrite has been deleted, his Twitter has been deleted, his phone has been deleted," Battle said.
Channel 4 News located Woodruff's former assistant, but she was just as surprised about his apparent disappearing act as the students.
"I have no clue," the former assistant said. "I haven't talked to him in two weeks."
A YouTube video promotes the Spring Break event and lists colleges in Tennessee and southern Kentucky. It claims several available package deals, including some as high as $500, which covered transportation, room and parties.
"Thousands of students - hundreds of thousands. It's no telling how many students have fallen victim to his guy," Battle said.
Channel 4 News checked with the hotel where Battle was supposed to be staying, the Knights Inn in Panama City, FL. Its manager said all but two of the rooms the promoter booked were all canceled. And the bus service allegedly hired, Grand Avenue, also didn't have any buses reserved for the trip.
So far, at least three MTSU students have filed reports with Murfreesboro police, who wonder how many more students will show up next Thursday to catch the bus to Florida, only to find out their Spring Break trip was a scam.
Police said other potential victims should also file reports, but they said there is still a possibility the promoter could still make good on the trip.
"There are not officially out their money until the time the Spring Break has happened," Murfreesboro police spokesman Sgt. Kyle Evans said.
But these victims think they may have to write this one off as a lost.
"This is not professional, and nor will I think he will be there on Thursday," said MTSU student Shena Woods.
Channel 4 News attempted to contact Woodruff, but he did not return our calls.
Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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