Olympia couple charged with bilking consumers in $70M timeshare scheme

by: Amy Clancy Updated:

OLYMPIA, Wash. —

An Olympia couple with plenty of money and political connections that landed them at the governor's ball is suspected of bilking timeshare owners out of more than $70 million.

Thursday, investigators with the Washington State Attorney General's Office announced a civil complaint filed against Jonathan and Christine Gibbs. 

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said the Gibbses made a ton of money, sometimes as much as $2 million per weekend, in an illicit timeshare scheme that went on for years.

 “Jonathan and Christine Gibbs, in our view, engaged in business practices that were unfair and deceptive,” said Ferguson.

The complaint alleges as many as 30,000 consumers nationwide were enticed by ads or phone calls promising that the Gibbses' many companies would sell their timeshares for a fee.

According to AG Senior Counsel Lisa Erwin, the Gibbses would then often pocket the cash and not sell the timeshares. Erwin said the Gibbses would also often transfer ownership of timeshares to themselves.

On Thursday, no one answered the door at the Gibbses' very large Olympia home.

So far, none of their assets have been seized, according to the AG’s office.  But they could be, depending on how the case against the Gibbses proceeds, Erwin said.

“We have civil jurisdiction in the Consumer Protection Division, and that’s the reach of our authority,” said Erwin.

 KIRO 7 reporter Amy Clancy asked, "Might there be criminal charges eventually?"

Erwin responded,  “I do not know.”

Clancy said seven other state attorneys general have recently filed criminal charges against 168 individuals involved in various illegal timeshare schemes.

Read the news release from the Federal Trade Commission here.