Victims of Olympia-based timeshare scheme to get money back

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson says Jonathan and Christine Gibbs of Olympia deceived people nationwide through an elaborate network of misleading vacation and timeshare operations.

Investigators identified at least 1,500 victims here in Washington and say the Gibbs' generated in excess of $70 million through their various businesses nationwide. In order to file the lawsuit against the Gibbs' back in June, investigators say they had to unravel dozens of subsidiaries and shell companies.

Under the consent decree filed today, the state recovers $1.2 million -- much of which goes to consumers who lost money. That's unusual. Victims typically never see their money again.

"Everyone in Washington state who is victimized, we believe will receive full restitution. The range will be anywhere from a couple thousand dollars to 20 thousand dollars," Ferguson said.

But in an interesting twist, only Jonathan Gibbs was required to sign the agreement and suffer the civil penalties filed in court. The case against Christine Gibbs was dismissed.

"She's not a part of this deal, but she's cooperating in a significant a way that's allowing to provide restitution to the many hundreds of individuals and entities here in Washington state. That frankly deserve that, and then beyond our borders as well, " Ferguson explained.

Investigators say Christine Gibbs loses her real estate license for life. Jonathan Gibbs is permanently banned from the timeshare and travel industries.

The settlement also gives timeshare resorts across the country a chance to get back the timeshare titles that were transferred as part of the Gibbs timeshare resale scheme. Washington state victims who lost money to the Gibbs deceptive business practices will be contacted by the Attorney General's Office in the next 30 days.