BBB of Los Angeles Recognized for Assisting District Attorney in Consumer Protection Case

July 08, 2014

Better Business Bureau Serving Los Angeles and Silicon Valley Recognized for Assisting District Attorney in Consumer Protection Case

Information Leads to Criminal Sentencing, Business Closing and Restitution to Victims

July 8, 2014

(Los Angeles) –Better Business Bureau Serving Los Angeles and Silicon Valley was recognized for assisting the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office in its investigation of Discount Gold Brokers, leading to the arrest and conviction of the company’s owner.

BBB Los Angeles President and CEO Steve McFarland joined over 100 finalists at the Los Angeles Business Journal’s 2014 Non-Profit and Corporate Citizenship Awards, held June 25th at the L.A. Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. BBB Los Angeles was one of four finalists in the Project Collaboration of the Year category, chosen from a field of 400 submissions.

Earlier this year McFarland noticed a growing number of complaints from people who said they paid Discount Gold Brokers for gold coins but never received them. BBB Los Angeles took its information to the DA’s office and their joint effort led to the arrest and conviction of Michael Berman, the company’s owner. Berman pled guilty to 82 felony counts and was ordered to pay $2.39 million in restitution to the victims – many of them seniors.

“BBB’s mission is to foster a bond of trust between businesses and consumers,” said McFarland. ”When widespread abuses occur, it’s a privilege and honor to help local law enforcement deliver justice to the accused and satisfaction to victims.”

Each year the Business Journal honors professionals and organizations that make a positive impact on the community under challenging financial constraints as well as the corporations supporting these nonprofits.

BBB is the preferred choice of consumers for making informed buying decisions and resolving complaints, and is the preferred partner of businesses for self-regulation, marketplace trust and dispute resolution. From its offices at 448 S. Hill Street downtown, BBB Los Angeles has responded to 2,400,000 consumer inquiries and processed 33,000 consumer complaints so far in 2014. For more information, visit

About BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2013, people turned to BBB more than 132 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 112 local, independent BBBs across North America, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation.