Tag Archives: Goldline International

Secrets of the right: Selling garbage to your fans

Secrets of the right: Selling garbage to your fans

I found the timing of  this article interesting.  This phenomena was reported  here…two years ago.  In fact, then Rep. Anthony Weiner targeted Goldline  back in 2010.

Salon

If the late social critic Eric Hoffer is correct in his often quoted (inaccurately, it turns out) adage that “every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket,” then the conservative movement is well onto the third phase of that life cycle.

Last week, preeminent conservative blogger and Fox News contributor Erick Erickson was busted hawking a pricey but dubiously valuable financial advice newsletter to his readers in an ad that turned out to be lifted from a previous ad for the same newsletter sent in the name of Ann Coulter a few years earlier. “I’m happy to support a good friend. Didn’t earn a penny,” he tweeted. Whether you believe that or not may depend on whether you know that his publisheronce offered to sell his endorsement, or if you believe, as Alex Pareene has often written, that the conservative movement is, among other things, an elaborate moneymaking venture by which the wealth of the rabid and gullible conservative rank and file is redistributed to already rich celebrities.

The truth is, peddling shady products to your most loyal listeners and readers is the rule, not the exception, and Erickson was just unfortunate enough to have someone notice him, and not the dozen other talkers or news outlets it could have easily been. From miracle health cures, to get-rich-quick schemes, to overpriced precious metals and seed banks, talk radio hosts and conservative news outlets are making a killing by trading their platform and credibility for the hard-earned cash of their unsuspecting listeners.

The most obvious example is gold, the precious metal conservative talkers encouraged their listeners to go all in on during the Great Recession (via the companies that pay them to say that and give them a cut of sales, naturally), but gold has since fallen more than 30 percent from its peak. If you bought when gold was near its high, you could have lost half your nest egg, and analysts say prices could fall another 50 percent. But poor financial advice aside, the real problem came in the particular companies the conservative luminaries ensured their listeners they could trust.

Glenn Beck is the most egregious, with his partnership with Goldline International, which also enjoys endorsements from Mark Levin and, until recently, Sean Hannity and others. Beck cut tearful promotional videos for the company, hawks them passionately on his radio and TV programs, and even designed a coin for the company this year (it reads “mind your business” on the front).

As it turns out, the company’s business model is built on systematically swindling its mostly elderly clientele by talking or tricking them into buying overpriced coins or just sending them different products than they bought, prosecutors in California alleged, leading the company to settle for $4.5 million in refunds to its customers. A judge instructed the company to foot the bill for a court-appointed monitor, who was supposed to ensure the company stopped its alleged “bait and switch” scam.

Not long after that, the company’s former chief compliance officer came forward to say the company was back to its old tricks. “Goldline specifically targets vulnerable consumers with sales tactics designed to pressure those consumers into buying products that would often result in the consumer losing over one-third of his or her investment the instant the purchase is made,” she said in a legal complaint filed late last year.

More here…

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Glenn Beck-Approved Goldline Charged With 19 Criminal Counts Of Fraud And Theft

Uh-oh…

Think Progress

Goldline International, the precious metal retailer that has capitalized on conservatives’ anxiety about the economy by forging synergistic relationships with right wing TV and radio hosts, is facing a new series of legal challenges after authorities filed criminal charges against the company and its executives yesterday. Several major conservative talkers — including two former GOP presidential candidates — have endorsed and recommendedGoldine, which critics have long contended is little more than a scam.

After more than a year of investigating, the city attorney in Santa Monica, California, where the company is based, has filed 19 criminal charges of fraud and theft against the company, in addition to charges against top executives and salesmen, ABC News reports:

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 thatinclude 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 charges carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and maximum fines of between $1,000 and $10,000 per offense.

While former Fox News conspiracy-theorist Glenn Beck is most closely associated with Goldline, Rush LimbaughSean HannityLaura Ingraham, and Mark Levin, former GOP presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson, and several Fox News hosts, among others, have all endorsed the company.

Indeed, conservative talk radio is central to the company’s success, as Goldline employs a business model based not on mere advertising, but full integration with the content of conservative talk show hosts’ messages. The company’s website prominently features these endorsers, suggesting the talkers’ backing gives Goldline “credibility.” The company has said it will vigorously contest the charges.

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