News 4 investigates dirty debt collectors breaking the law

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by Chris Nagus

KMOV.com

Posted on May 21, 2013 at 11:05 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 14 at 12:45 PM

(KMOV) -- A debt collector crossed the line, threatening arrest and prosecution to a woman who took out a payday loan back in 2007, a loan she says she doesn't even owe the money for. 

“This letter has caused me a lot of stress” Trenay Kelly tells News 4.

The letter comes from St. Louis Recovery Services. They are threatening to arrest Kelly, even though they aren't cops and claim she's committed fraud.

They have even determined her potential bond of $25,000.

“They were going to lock me up, prosecuted for fraud for writing bad checks” said Kelly.

In 2007, Kelly went to S & D check cashing, also known as Mr. Payday, run by Jayant Patel.  She took out a $100 payday loan to keep her utilities turned on.

Trenay claims she paid back the loan, which totaled $187 with interest.

Nearly six years later, out of the blue, she received a copy of one of her personal checks.  The check was not made out to anyone, claiming insufficient funds.  The letter demanded $457.

Trenay contacted Rob Swearingen with the Legal Services of Eastern Missouri.

“I think whoever is behind this is committing a major fraud” said Swearingen.

He also told News 4 the people behind the letter “are trying to freak people out that they are going to jail if they don't pay up immediately.”

That's against the law according to the federal trade commission.

Things got even crazier a month later when Trenay got another letter, this time from Chas, Derk, Lee & Associates.   

The letterhead made it appear as though it was a law firm.  Additionally, it had the same P.O. Box and telephone number as St Louis Recovery Services.

The total debt is now up to $847 and threatening grand larceny theft; a 3rd degree felony.

News 4 visited Patel, the owner of S&D, to find out who's behind this nonsense.

Upon arrival at his store located at Natural Bridge, Patel told News 4's Chris Nagus he would not talk with a camera inside his store.

Off camera Patel said none of this would be happening if Trenay had paid her debt.

However, Trenay says she did pay, on an account that's now closed.

Patel continued to go back and forth between saying he had the documents proving she didn't pay, and saying he sold all the documents off to the debt collector.

So News 4’s Chris Nagus called the debt collector.

The man listed on the letters, Anthony James, said he had been fired and hung up.

The only listed address News 4 can find for this debt collector is P.O. Box 210671 at the Normandy Post Office.

If you know who is behind that P.O. Box or have had a run in with these debt collectors, email Chris Nagus.

 

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