One of the largest U.S. precious metals dealers, which has used advertising by such conservative leaders as Glenn Beck and Mike Huckabee, vowed Wednesday to fight bait-and-switch charges brought by Santa Monica, Calif.
The city attorney's office Tuesday filed a 19-count misdemeanor criminal complaint against Goldline International Inc., alleging the company 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 by city authorities.
The charges include theft by false pretenses, false advertising and conspiracy. Further, several top Goldline executives also are charged with various wrong-doings.
Specifically, the city accuses Goldline of training salespeople to get customers to buy bullion with the intent to later switch the sale to the more expensive gold coins, according to the Santa Monica Daily Post.
Brian Crumbaker, Goldline's executive vice president, said the complaint has numerous errors and will be vigorously contested.
The so-called bait and switch allegation is preposterous because bullion accounts for more than 40 percent of the ounces of gold sold by the company during the past year, said Crumbaker.
Crumbaker said Goldline is more than 50 years old, has operated for more than 20 years in Santa Monica where it employs about 400 people and has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Arraignment is set for Jan. 4, 2012.