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Deal reached in timeshare fraud

Fri., Sept. 13, 2013

OLYMPIA – At least 1,500 people in Washington state who were victims of a timeshare and travel scam will receive up to $20,000 each under a settlement announced Thursday by Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

Ferguson announced that the state has recovered $1.2 million from Jonathan Gibbs, who along with his wife, Christine, had claimed to handle more than 30,000 timeshare transfers across the country.

The state sued the Olympia couple in June, and the attorney general’s office had said the Gibbses fooled consumers into paying them thousands of dollars to transfer ownership of their vacation timeshares to shell corporations. The couple collected more than $70 million while operating as 25 different companies, according to the attorney general’s office.

Ferguson said the money recovered will pay each Washington state victim between $1,000 and $20,000, as well as all attorney fees.

“This large, complex scheme involved unfair and deceptive business practices that harmed hundreds of victims locally and thousands nationwide,” Ferguson said in a written statement.

Ferguson’s office said Christine Gibbs denied any wrongdoing and cooperated by agreeing to facilitate the return of timeshare properties throughout the country. In exchange, she was dismissed from the case.

Jonathan Gibbs also denied any wrongdoing, Ferguson said, but has agreed to not sell or buy timeshares or travel-related products.

Ferguson said consumers that were affected will be contacted by his office within the next 30 days.

The settlement also means that timeshare resorts that were affected by the scheme will be contacted by the state and given an opportunity to obtain titles to timeshares that had been transferred to the shell companies.


 

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