A nationwide coin dealer based in the Los Angeles area has been taken under a court-ordered receivership as requested by a lawsuit filed by the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office and Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

The receiver was appointed at the request of prosecutors who filed the lawsuit against Superior Gold Group LLC and its owner, Bruce Sands, Dec. 3. The civil lawsuit, filed under the California Unfair Competition Law, alleges that the defendants have committed unlawful, unfair and fraudulent acts against customers, Santa Monica Deputy City Attorney Adam Radinsky said.

The complaint was filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court’s Santa Monica courthouse.

The court order, signed by Presiding Judge Gerald Rosenberg of the Los Angeles County Superior Court’s Santa Monica courthouse, includes a temporary restraining order that freezes all bank accounts, real estate, and other assets belonging to Sands and Superior Gold, Radinsky said.

Under the court order, receiver Dean Pucci of the law firm Jones & Mayer took control of Superior Gold’s two locations in Santa Monica and Woodland Hills Dec. 6. Pucci was ordered by the court to secure the assets of the business and take over its operation.

The court set a hearing for Friday, Dec. 17 to decide whether the receivership and asset freeze will remain in place until the trial in the case.

According to the lawsuit, the defendants allegedly used three main schemes in their dealings with customers including: taking payments from customers for coins but failing to provide the coins; influencing customers to buy more expensive collector’s or foreign coins instead of the basic gold bullion; and charging prices far higher than fair market value for the coins.

The lawsuit seeks restitution to all former customers who lost money as a result of the alleged wrongful acts; an injunction from the court to prevent further misconduct; and monetary penalties, Radinsky said.