A Santa Clarita man charged in a $2.39 million consumer protection case involving the buying and selling of gold bullion and coins received a four-year, four-month sentence in state prison Thursday, officials said.
Don’t miss a thing. Get breaking Santa Clarita news alerts delivered right to your inbox.
Michael Berman, 54, of Canyon Country, pleaded guilty to 82 felony counts, including grand theft of personal property and false and fraudulent claim, according to Deputy District Attorney Greg Alker in a news release. He also admitted excessive-taking allegations.
The defendant pleaded “open” to the court, meaning there was no negotiated settlement or plea deal with the District Attorney’s Office, officials said.
“Discount Gold Brokers Inc., (a Sherman Oaks-based business), is hereby ordered to desist and refrain from the further offer and sale of commodities including, but not limited to, precious metals, or from further offering to enter into, or entering into, as sellers any commodity contracts in the State of California, unless and until those activities are not in violation of Corporations Code section 29520,” according to a filing by the Department of Corporations.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Horwitz immediately sentenced Berman to four years, four months in state prison and ordered the defendant to pay $2.39 million in restitution.
Berman, the owner of Discount Gold Brokers, was charged in a felony complaint for arrest warrant on April 15.
Ten days later, the defendant surrendered to authorities.
Berman failed to deliver any of the gold or made only partial deliveries to 41 victims, prosecutors said.
The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the California Department of Business Oversight, an agency that regulates the gold industry.
Do you have a news tip? Call us at (661) 298-1220, or drop us a line at email@example.com.
Source: Santa Clarita News