California authorities have launched an investigation into claims that Goldline International — the favorite investment arm of Glenn Beck and Mike Huckabee — is scamming people into buying coins and is sending them "something different from what they had ordered."
ABC News spoke to Adam Radinsky of the Santa Monica City Attorney's office, who said of the investigation, "There are two main types of complaints we're seeing: "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."
Every year Goldline International manages to sells hundreds of millions of dollars worth of gold, thanks to sales pitches from conservative heroes like Beck, Mike "The Good Christian" Huckabee, and the Law and Order guy who wanted to be president. New York Representative Anthony Weiner, speaking to ABC, said that Fox News, its talk show hosts, and Goldline have formed an "unholy alliance" to rip people off, and:
Once they get people on the phone, they basically steer them into these so-called collectible coins and that's where the rip off becomes really profound," Weiner told ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross.
"So there's no other value that these coins have because they're unusual or because there's a mistake in them?" Ross asked.
"There's no doubt about it, that there's a whole universe of rare collectible coins and I know nothing about that field," Weiner replied. "Except to say this: Goldline doesn't sell those coins."
One of several Goldline customers interviewed during the investigation, 63-year old Joe Kismartin, told ABC that he believed the company's sales pitch and figured since the economy was down, he'd invest in gold as a safety net. "I wanted to go bullion, I didn't want coins. 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." Kismartin took the coins, that he spent $5,000 on, to a coin shop where he was told they were worth only $2,900. Beck couldn't be reached for comment by ABC, but a spokesman pointed to Goldline's A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, and "We expect our advertisers to treat our audience well." The Nightline investigation can be seen here.
Watch Beck's totally awesome sales pitch below... he's just finished talking to the Founding Fathers!