A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has issued a restraining order freezing the assets of Merit Gold owners Peter Epstein and Michael Getlin. Also included in the court document is an order for Merit to cease and desist accepting payments from its customers. The judge found that it was very likely that the company “was permeated with fraud.” A trial date has been set for October 14.
On August 5th, Merit Financial allegedly committed what appears to be a fraudulent transfer when it sold its assets to Credit Management Association for just $1.00. This triggered the restraining order.
If you missed the news this past February, the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office had filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Seacoast Coin, Inc., which is the parent company of Merit Financial and Merit Gold and Silver. Merit Gold was one of the largest precious metals dealers in the nation and operated large national TV advertising campaigns.
Merit Gold allegedly used aggressive “bait and switch” tactics to lure in customers nationwide. The lawsuit said it would draw customers in to buy gold bullion at just “1% over cost.” Then, Merit salespeople apparently would trick customers into buying “collector” coins that carried very large mark-ups.
It is alleged that Merit falsely told customers various deceptive statements about their collectible products, including:
“That the coins are a better investment than bullion; that the coins offer more privacy than bullion; that the coins are not “reportable” on consumers’ taxes; that the coins can’t be confiscated by the government, while bullion can be.”
The complaint says that the coins that Merit sold had “none of these advantages.” City attorneys say that Merit swindled millions of dollars from its customers, many of whom were seniors.
Euro Pacific Precious Metals has never and will never sell “numismatic” or “collectible” gold and silver products. We do not recommend them to serious investors.
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