SM COURTHOUSE — Superior Gold Group LLC, a gold coin retailer with a location in Santa Monica that has been accused of defrauding customers, has been seized by a court-appointed receiver, and all of its assets have been frozen.

The order, signed by Judge Gerald Rosenberg, the presiding judge at the Santa Monica Courthouse, came in response to a lawsuit against the company filed jointly on Friday by the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

The order also applies to the company’s owner, Bruce Sands, and Superior Equity Group, another company affiliated with him.

A hearing is scheduled for Dec. 20 in Santa Monica to determine whether the receivership and asset freeze will stay in effect until the case is resolved.

The lawsuit, filed under the California Unfair Competition Law, accuses the company of capitalizing on the recent run-up in gold prices “by fostering fear and confusion among its customers.”

The complaint alleges the defendants took payments for gold coins they never delivered, made false statements to trick customers into buying more expensive collector or foreign coins instead of basic gold bullion ones most people want, and charged exorbitant prices for coins by using deceptive practices to conceal markups.

The lawsuit seeks restitution to all former customers who lost money as a result of the alleged crimes, an injunction from the court to prevent further misconduct and monetary penalties, according to a press release from the City Attorney’ Office.

The court-ordered receiver, attorney Dean Puccii of the firm Jones & Mayer, on Monday took control of both of Superior Gold’s offices in Woodland Hills and Santa Monica.

The company, which has advertised on Glenn Beck’s Fox News program, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

The suit came after a months-long investigation by the Consumer Protection Unit of the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office. Adam Radinsky, the head of the unit, said complaints about the company are still being accepted at the website gold.smconsumer.org.

nickt@www.smdp.com

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