Goldline Execs Charged With Fraud

Party Rooster

Unleash The Beast
Apr 27, 2005
40,284
7,454
438
The Inland Empire State
#1
Goldline Execs Charged With Fraud

By MATTHEW MOSK and BRIAN ROSS (@brianross)
Nov. 1, 2011

Goldline, a company that used endorsements from Glenn Beck and other conservative icons to sell hundreds of millions of dollars to consumers, has been charged with theft and fraud in a 19-count criminal complaint filed Tuesday by local officials in California.

The criminal complaint filed Tuesday by the Santa Monica City Attorney's consumer protection unit marks the latest in a series of allegations it has leveled against the gold dealer, which pioneered the practice of weaving its sales pitches into broadcasts by popular conservative political personalities -- including two former presidential candidates -- to sell hundreds of millions of dollars worth of gold every year.

The complaint alleges that Goldline "runs a bait and switch operation in which customers, seeking to invest in gold bullion, are switched to highly overpriced coins by using false and misleading claims," according to a statement released by the consumer affairs division of the Santa Monica City Attorney's office.

The company has been charged in the court filing with misdemeanors that include theft by false pretenses, false advertising, and conspiracy, the City Attorney's office said. In addition to the charges against the company, the complaint accuses former CEO Mark Albarian, executives Robert Fazio and Luis Beeli, and salespeople Charles Boratgis and Stephanie Howard of defrauding customers. Current CEO Scott Carter is accused of making false or misleading statements. Each of the charged offenses carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and maximum fines of between $1,000 and $10,000 per offense.
A Probe Into Gold Company Promoted by Glenn Beck Watch Video
Glenn Beck Hits Goldline Critics, Media Watch Video
Firm Selling Gold Touted by Glenn Beck Under Fire Watch Video

Carter, who is frequently featured in Goldline commercials, told ABC News Tuesday that he was withholding comment until he has had time to review the court filing.

The launch of an investigation into Goldline was first reported by ABC News more than a year ago, when Santa Monica officials first said they were looking into allegations they said were leveled against the company by unhappy customers.

"There are two main types of complaints we're seeing," Adam Radinsky of the Santa Monica City Attorney's office said at the time. "One is that customers say that they were lied to and misled in entering into their purchases of gold coins. And the other group is saying that they received something different from what they had ordered."

Goldline officials said at the time that customer complaints were infrequent and it responded immediately to address them. The proof of the company's commitment to customer satisfaction, they said, is Goldline's top rating from the Better Business Bureau. "When we learn that customers have not received the experience they deserve, we investigate and take action," said Carter, then Goldline's executive vice president, in a letter to ABC News sent last year.

The criminal complaint lays out a series of allegations that it contends add up to a conspiracy to trick customers into overpaying for an investment in gold.

For instance, the complaint alleges that the company trains salespeople to "get the money in" from customers on the promise of delivering gold bullion, with the intent to later switch the sale to far more overpriced collectable gold coins. It alleges that the company trains its employees "to disguise the more than 50 percent markup on the overpriced coins," and alleges that Goldline reprimands its salespeople if they fail to convince the customer to buy the overpriced coins.

Gold Bullion Vs. Gold Coins

At the heart of the complaint is the suggestion that Goldline profits not so much by selling pure gold bullion, but by persuading customers who want to capitalize on the rising value of gold to purchase collectable coins. The coins are subject to a significant mark-up in price, and several Goldline customers told ABC News that they found it difficult or impossible to resell those coins without taking a loss.

One of the customers was 63-year old Joe Kismartin of suburban Detroit. He says what he heard on TV about gold and the Goldline company made a lot of sense.

"They got the commercials on TV and the way the economy's going I was figuring well, maybe I'll just do it for a little bit, save it for inflation, you know, in case something happens to the economy, it bottoms out and I've got something to fall back on, gold, rather than money," he said.

But Kismartin says he ended up losing almost half of the $5,000 he spent, because, he says, the Goldline salesman pressured him to buy overpriced gold coins, not the gold bullion he had seen in the commercials.

"I wanted to go bullion, I didn't want coins," he said. "I told the gentleman I don't want coins. He said I got the deal here, the special deal, I got Swiss coins. He more or less talked me into buying the coins."

When Kismartin took the coins to a local coin shop, he was told the $5,000 worth of gold coins he bought from Goldline five months earlier was worth just over $2,900, a loss of $2,100. "You know, I'm living month to month, that's a big loss."

Goldline disputes Kismartin's allegations against the company, saying it sells "a variety of products ranging from the most common bullion coins to exceptionally rare certified coins." Goldline said it looked into each case ABC News reported on last year and found that while both customers had initially complained, the company believed they wound up satisfied. And one of them -- Goldline did not identify which one -- was provided "a number of written disclosures at the time of purchase that went even further than Goldline's ordinary written disclosures," and yet went ahead with the purchase anyway.

In filing the complaint, officials have opened a new front in a long-running and very public dispute over the way Goldline has turned the sale of gold into a massive retail operation that capitalizes on popular conservative figures -- most notably Glenn Beck. The marriage of conservative talk and gold sales appears to make sense -- both have traditionally targeted an audience that is skeptical of the government, concerned about the nation's economic future, and uneasy about inflation and the stability of American currency. Neither Beck nor any of the other celebrity endorsers are accused of any wrongdoing.

The promotional strategy appears to have been beneficial both to Goldline, which boasts $500 million in sales, and to such conservative figures as Beck and former presidential hopefuls Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee, all of whom have, at various times, coupled their television or radio appearances with Goldline advertisements.

When contacted last year, a spokesman for Beck noted that Goldline has an A plus rating from the Better Business Bureau.

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/goldline-execs-charged-fraud/story?id=14857253
Why are they still going after Glenn Beck? They already got him booted off the TV...:icon_cool
 

Neon

ネオン
Donator
Mar 23, 2008
51,820
18,545
513
Kingdom of Charis
#2
oldline, a company that used endorsements from Glenn Beck and other conservative icons to sell hundreds of millions of dollars to consumers,
They just couldn't resist. It's like libtard OCD.
 

weeniewawa

it's a man, baby!!!
May 21, 2005
12,076
1,267
593
Hell,California
#3
if anyone buys something from someone without doing anymore research than with the one company, they deserve to be ripped off

we have this thing called the "internet" that lets anyone become an instant expert in almost anything

like getting a second opinion for medical procedures

maybe this company is a bunch of dicks but no one made them buy something at the barrel of a gun
 

Begbie

Wackbag Generalissimo
Jul 21, 2003
17,994
5,387
838
Wilmington, NC
#4
Is this the company that has Liddy in their commercial? Or is it the company where that dope is making believe he's talking to that broad at the beginning of the commercial, then he looks up to the camera and starts talking as she walks off?
 

TheDrip

I'm bi-winning.
Jan 9, 2006
5,051
3
228
#6
When are they going to go after the Franklin Mint for their goddamn commemorative plate collections!!!
 

Party Rooster

Unleash The Beast
Apr 27, 2005
40,284
7,454
438
The Inland Empire State
#7
When are they going to go after the Franklin Mint for their goddamn commemorative plate collections!!!
My grandmother has an entire set of Elvis plates, 16 or 20 of them in all, and was looking to sell them since they're just sitting in boxes in a closet. I told her I'd put them on my Ebay for her and since she paid over $50 a piece for them 25 years ago, she thought surely she could net close to a $1000 bucks for them. I went on Ebay to see the going rate and it was less than $300 for a complete set. Told her she should have bought Apple.
 
Jun 2, 2005
15,516
4
0
Dallas
#8
My grandmother has an entire set of Elvis plates, 16 or 20 of them in all, and was looking to sell them since they're just sitting in boxes in a closet. I told her I'd put them on my Ebay for her and since she paid over $50 a piece for them 25 years ago, she thought surely she could net close to a $1000 bucks for them. I went on Ebay to see the going rate and it was less than $300 for a complete set. Told her she should have bought Apple.
It's understandable for people back then to think shit like that, though. There was no internet, and people heard rumors of weird collectible shit being sold for ridiculous cash. (Baseball cards, comic books, etc)

I'm still unclear how this company is guilty of anything, though. People are stupid and they buy dumb shit. If you're going to punish every company that sells to dumb people we're all going to jail.
 
Dec 8, 2004
49,315
21,219
693
Maine
#9
if anyone buys something from someone without doing anymore research than with the one company, they deserve to be ripped off

we have this thing called the "internet" that lets anyone become an instant expert in almost anything

like getting a second opinion for medical procedures

maybe this company is a bunch of dicks but no one made them buy something at the barrel of a gun
Yep... I weighed some broken gold my chick had... figured out the approximate retail scrap value... and when to 3 places. The "chain store" that is BBB accredited etc... offered $200 less then the Jewelery Store and Coin Store I went into.
 

MayrMeninoCrash

Liberal Psycopath
Dec 9, 2004
24,554
8,726
693
Loveland, CO
#10
Goldline =/= Cash 4 Gold type places

If I remember correctly, Goldline was selling derivatives based on the price of gold, and acting as if you were buying your own personal Fort Knox. I'm surprised the SEC didn't shut this racket down a long time ago.
 

JoeFromS.Jersey

Registered User
Apr 25, 2005
5,128
2
283
South Jersey
#11
Goldline =/= Cash 4 Gold type places

If I remember correctly, Goldline was selling derivatives based on the price of gold, and acting as if you were buying your own personal Fort Knox. I'm surprised the SEC didn't shut this racket down a long time ago.
I don't think you're remembering correctly....

Goldline sells gold bullion and gold coins. Their bullion is competitively priced with anyone else out there. But their schtick is that if you call in to buy bullion they try as hard as they possibly can to sell you numismatic coins instead of the bullion that is actually what you want to be investing in. I think the crux of the case listed above is that they are not particularly honest when stating the "benefits" of buying the coins. They really try to play up that government seizure line on bullion.

I've bought bullion from them and they send it right to your house. So, it's not a paper trade.
 

MayrMeninoCrash

Liberal Psycopath
Dec 9, 2004
24,554
8,726
693
Loveland, CO
#12
I don't think you're remembering correctly....

Goldline sells gold bullion and gold coins. Their bullion is competitively priced with anyone else out there. But their schtick is that if you call in to buy bullion they try as hard as they possibly can to sell you numismatic coins instead of the bullion that is actually what you want to be investing in. I think the crux of the case listed above is that they are not particularly honest when stating the "benefits" of buying the coins. They really try to play up that government seizure line on bullion.

I've bought bullion from them and they send it right to your house. So, it's not a paper trade.
Yeah you're right - I was thinking of ETF's, not Derivatives, too. Goldline doesn't seem to be in that market.
 

whiskeyguy

PR representative for Drunk Whiskeyguy.
Donator
Jan 12, 2010
36,495
22,147
398
Northern California
#13
They just couldn't resist. It's like libtard OCD.
No shit. I never understood why people in the media go after others because of something their sponsor did... it's a fucking advertisement. If Beck owned Goldline, they'd have a point.
 

Norm Stansfield

私は亀が好きだ。
Mar 17, 2009
15,949
4,075
328
#14
No shit. I never understood why people in the media go after others because of something their sponsor did... it's a fucking advertisement. If Beck owned Goldline, they'd have a point.
I don't think it's completely unwarranted to mention the platforms that run shady ads. But a proper journalist would've most definitely either listed all the platforms that ran Goldline ads, or none at all.

Also, Glenn Beck is doing a little more than just running the ads:
http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/glenn-beck-fires-back-goldline-investigation/story?id=11218568

The above link once again confirms a long running theory of mine about Glenn Beck. (No, it's not that Germans love him. It's that he's a moron)
 

whiskeyguy

PR representative for Drunk Whiskeyguy.
Donator
Jan 12, 2010
36,495
22,147
398
Northern California
#15
I don't think it's completely unwarranted to mention the platforms that run shady ads. But a proper journalist would've most definitely either listed all the platforms that ran Goldline ads, or none at all.

Also, Glenn Beck is doing a little more than just running the ads:
http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/glenn-beck-fires-back-goldline-investigation/story?id=11218568

The above link once again confirms a long running theory of mine about Glenn Beck. (No, it's not that Germans love him. It's that he's a moron)
I'm by no means defending Beck, I can't stand him. I simply think the fact that he was sponsored by Goldline is irrelevant. Media is a business. If someone is willing to buy advertisement space, then the business sells it to them. Beck above anything else is a businessman, and he was there to make money first and foremost. He wasn't the guy on the phone trying to confuse people into blowing their money, or the dude who came up with the plan.
 

CousinDave

Registered User
Dec 11, 2007
25,297
198
393
Ohio
#16
Did Beck appear in ads for this company, while it really dosen't matter to me, but it does hurt his credibility because of the business he is in.

Now if Steven Singer got caught with child porn on his computer or something, Prime Time Sam Roberts would not lose any of his credibility.



I just want to say investing in something that is advertised on cable/satellite TV or Sirius XM is not a good investment

If you want to buy gold then buy gold bullion or scrap not newly minted coins that only have a scrap value

If you want to invet in gold coins then buy collectible US gold coins not the stuff that's advertised on TV & radio
 

Norm Stansfield

私は亀が好きだ。
Mar 17, 2009
15,949
4,075
328
#17
I'm by no means defending Beck, I can't stand him. I simply think the fact that he was sponsored by Goldline is irrelevant. Media is a business. If someone is willing to buy advertisement space, then the business sells it to them.
Yes, but there are two reasons why that ad space sells: one is the audience it has, the other is the media outlet's reputation. The audience has some faith in a reputable media outlet's ability to weed out at least the blatant fraudsters.

I'm not saying every outlet has the legal, or even moral obligation to check up on their advertisers. They don't. But some might (because developing a good reputation will, in the long run, be profitable), and some people might be counting on them to do it. If that faith is misplaced, it is a journalist's job to try to inform the audience about that fact.
 

The Godfather

Spark it up for The Godfather and say!!!!!
May 9, 2007
11,256
10
163
#18
"He more or less talked me into buying the coins"
You should have been smart enough to realise that buy antique gold coins for 50% markups + commision isn't smart.

If gold is $1,500/oz... buy a gold bar for $1,500/oz + spot & shipping insurance

If gold is $1,500/oz.. don't buy a .5 oz coin for $3,000... what are you fucking stupid?
 

Party Rooster

Unleash The Beast
Apr 27, 2005
40,284
7,454
438
The Inland Empire State
#19
I don't think you're remembering correctly....

Goldline sells gold bullion and gold coins. Their bullion is competitively priced with anyone else out there. But their schtick is that if you call in to buy bullion they try as hard as they possibly can to sell you numismatic coins instead of the bullion that is actually what you want to be investing in. I think the crux of the case listed above is that they are not particularly honest when stating the "benefits" of buying the coins. They really try to play up that government seizure line on bullion.

I've bought bullion from them and they send it right to your house. So, it's not a paper trade.
This.



If gold is $1,500/oz.. don't buy a .5 oz coin for $3,000... what are you fucking stupid?
The fact that they were Beck viewers already established that. :action-sm