A former Anna Maria Island vacation real estate agent was arrested Nov. 12 for operating without a real estate license.
Michael Carleton, 61, was booked and held on $1,500 bond, but immediately posted bond and was released.
Carleton was already under investigation by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Real Estate, following complaints early this year that he double-booked island vacation homes.
Complainants allege Carleton could not be contacted from out of state after paying deposits, or at times, he would only agree to partial refunds, which frustrated renters who were hoping to recoup some of their money.
The Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce said they fielded numerous complaints about Carleton’s alleged shady rental practices.
He was under criminal investigation by the Holmes Beach Police Department, at which time Carleton’s island office shut down. He posted a forwarding address to Sarasota.
HBPD turned the investigation over to the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Postal Service in May. In the interim, the state suspended Carleton’s license in March after he allegedly paid $10,000 for a property at 106 55th St., Holmes Beach, into the escrow account for his rental agency, Coast Line Accommodations, instead of Coast Line Realtors, his registered employer.
More than 60 complaints were filed with the HBPD prior to the case being turned over to the federal government, which is ongoing.