Goldline spokesperson Eric Hoffman told ABC News the company "strongly disputed" Bazan's contention that its sales rep encouraged him put all of his IRA funds into the gold coins, saying such action would be in strict violation of the company's policies and training.
But Carl Holmes, who worked as a Goldline salesman in 2008, told ABC News that during his time at Goldline, customers were steered toward coins, and that sales representatives were encouraged to get customers to move their retirement funds into gold coins.
Homes said that "if a customer were to call in and only want gold as far as bullion, then it was my job to persuade them to buy the collectors' gold."
"If I was unsuccessful, then I would turn the call over and get somebody else who was more quote unquote, "experienced," to see if they can persuade them to buy collectors' coins and get a higher commission," Holmes said.
Holmes also claimed that Goldline wants customers to put their retirement funds into "Gold IRAs," specifically eagle proof coins. "They encourage people to put their retirement money into these proofs," alleged Holmes.
In an interview, Goldline's Carter disputed Holmes' characterization of Goldline's sales strategy, but has defended the company's emphasis on collectable coins, which he said would be less likely to be subject to government confiscation.
Carter says the company is up front in its advertising that it wants customers to buy coins.
"Ultimately, our view is we believe in customer choice, full disclosure and a friendly and open sales process," he said. "Our most popular product, the Swiss 20 Franc, has earned a 240 percent return, excluding our fees. It's tough to argue with that return."
But Holmes told ABC News that the coins have largely resulted in poor returns for Goldline clients because he says they often find it difficult to resell them for anything close to what they paid. Even with the rapid rise in the value of gold, he said, most of those he sold coins to "have yet to break even."
Holmes said he eventually stopped pushing them and was eventually let go by the company for poor performance.
In his testimony Thursday, Carter stressed that Goldline "offers among the most comprehensive and clearly written disclosures in the precious metals industry. These disclosures include detailed information regarding Goldline's sales staff, the risks of investing in precious metals, and Goldline's pricing policies." He also said that Goldline encourages customers to consult financial advisors, and that 40 percent of Goldmine's customers are at any one time are repeat customers.
Carter had earlier questioned Weiner's motives for calling the hearings. Goldine has an A rating from the Better Business Bureau. "In an industry with a lot of F-rated companies, there's a reason why Goldline was selected," said Carter. "He's pushing a political agenda."