Authorities in California have opened an official investigation into Goldline International, which urges consumers to buy gold to protect themselves from the supposed inevitable devaluing of American currency — and features Glenn Beck in some of its advertisements.
A House Commerce subcommittee also announced today that it’s planning a hearing on Goldline, which “uses aggressive sales tactics and conservative spokespeople such as Fox News’ Glenn Beck to sell overpriced gold coins.”
According to the Santa Monica City Attorney’s office, the investigation was opened after it received more than 100 complaints from customers, some of whom alleged that gold was sold to them under false pretenses, and others who claimed they did not receive the gold as advertised.
The Santa Monica City Attorney’s office has launched a joint investigation into Goldline with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office.
Adam Radinsky of the City Attorney’s office told ABC News that there have been two kinds of complaints from Goldline customers. “One is that customers say that they were lied to and misled in entering into their purchases of gold coins,” he said. “And the other group is saying that they received something different from what they had ordered.”
Goldline encourages its customers to convert their money into gold to protect themselves in the event of a market collapse. They also warn consumers that since the federal government seized gold during the Great Depression, they should buy Goldline’s collectible coins in case this happens again.
Goldline executive vice president Scott Carter told ABC News that though “it’s hard to determine what the government will do,” the seizing of gold bullion “has been done before and people are concerned. Many people are paralleling 1933 to today.”
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), who blasted Goldline and Beck back in May, and today announced an upcoming congressional hearing on Goldline, told ABC News that it is a “really profound” rip off for Goldline to be pushing these coins instead of real gold.
“There’s a whole universe of rare collectible coins and I know nothing about that field,” said Weiner. “Except to say this: Goldline doesn’t sell those coins.” He added: “It is absolutely not true that the government has any power to confiscate your gold or confiscate your currency, but that fear is profound.”
Weiner has also attacked Goldline for its ties to conservative punditry. The group notably uses Glenn Beck in some of its commercials, and advertises on his show and on those of other right-wing media personalities. Weiner has called this the “unholy alliance between Goldline and conservative pundits.”
According to Radinsky, though, the new investigation is not tied to Beck:
Glenn Beck has nothing to do with our investigation. Our investigation is about transactions with individual customers and the complaints that they’ve raised. And politics really has nothing to do with it. It’s all about consumer protection for us.
Adding to Goldline’s troubles, a class-action lawsuit has been filed against the company today by a group of consumers in South Carolina who “allege they have been ripped off,” ABC News reports.