I travel a fair bit for work and have found that, in the South especially, the only radio stations that come in loud and clear are generally AM talk shows. Which means I dip my toe into the insanity that is Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and Glenn Beck from time to time. I look at it like scoping out the enemy but I can only take it for so long.
However, it doesn’t take long, particularly during Beck’s hideous show, to hear an ad for Goldline, a gold peddler. Beck himself flogs them ad nauseum. According to their ads, everything in your life will be better if you invest in gold.
Turns out, Goldline is a sham operation. Shocking, I know, but there it is.
Goldline, a company that used endorsements from Glenn Beck and other conservative icons to sell hundreds of millions of dollars worth of gold 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.
About the only silver lining (not gold, eh?) to this is that most of the people scammed by Goldline were hapless Beck syncophants. Based on the quality of his incoming calls, I’m having a hard time feeling too sorry for them.
That said, however, screw Goldline. I hope all their top executives go to jail for this.