This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
$1 buys you full access to ALL of TheStreet's Subscription Services! Learn More

10 Sleazy Celebrity Endorsements

Glenn Beck
Even fans of conservative talk show host and author Glenn Beck would probably concede that he can be -- to put it mildly -- a bit of an alarmist.

Among his many conspiracy theories and doomsday scenarios is a prediction of a total economic collapse, precipitated by the collapse of the U.S. dollar and hyperinflation that would put the billion-dollar bills of Zimbabwe to shame.

But owning gold bullion isn't enough to save you. On multiple occasions, Beck warned his audience that the government, thanks to an order dating back to FDR, had the power to seize most gold from you if it so desired. Exempt from its clutches, however, are antique and collectible coins, he explained. So any survivalist worth their year's supply of Spam and bottled water knows only gold coins are worth stockpiling.

Beck's talking points match up almost word-for-word with the sales pitch used by one of his ongoing sponsors, Goldline International, a company that also uses him as a paid endorser.

On Nov. 1, Goldline executives and salespeople were charged with 19 criminal counts by the Santa Monica, Calif., City Attorney's Office, which worked with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office on the case.

Founded in 1960, Goldline is based in Santa Monica and has more than 400 employees and annual sales exceeding $500 million.

The complaint charged 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."

Among the tactics cited by investigators is "training salespeople to induce in customers fear of government confiscation of bullion and to tell customers that the overpriced coins were exempt from such confiscation." Sound familiar? (In fairness, there was a Depression-era order intended to stabilize the dollar and prevent a run on banks; only one prosecution ever resulted and it is debatable it could still be enforced, given the end of the gold standard).

Among the alleged acts of false advertising: "stating that the European coins they were promoting could be 'liquidated privately'; offering gold bullion for sale, in commercials and on Goldline's Web site, with no intention of selling it; stating that bullion could be 'purchased online' with a button on its Web site, when it could not be purchased online; and referring to the European coins they were promoting as 'rare.'"

"The so-called bait-and-switch allegation is preposterous because bullion accounts for more than 40% of the ounces of gold sold by the company during the past year," Brian Crumbaker, Goldline's executive vice president, said in a statement, countering what he called "numerous errors."

Beck continues to endorse and publicly defend the company, as do several other conservative pundits touted on the Web site with the tagline "Credibility: the most influential voices of today trust Goldline."

"Credibility" might not be the word that comes to mind for those inclined to think Beck's Chicken Little rhetoric about the economy had a profit motive.

3 of 12

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!

Markets

DOW 17,827.75 +12.81 0.07%
S&P 500 2,072.83 +5.80 0.28%
NASDAQ 4,787.3170 +29.0650 0.61%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs