ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- A troubled business continues to resurface in St. Louis and it continues to target people of low incomes. News 4 has exposed the problem in the past and now the St. Louis County prosecutor has his eyes on the most recent cases.
Letters from CDL & Associates are once again showing up in mailboxes around the region.
“He’s been calling me, harassing me," Jolana Woodard said. In Woodard’s case the letter cites a “demand for payment” related to a check she cashed at Larimore Liquors. The letter accused the Ferguson resident of first-degree larceny and mentioned a subpoena request to appear for court. She was troubled to see she could face a warrant or incarceration.
"It was a legitimate check," Woodard said. "I got it from Missouri Higher Education. It had my name on it. I didn’t think anything was wrong with it. It was legitimate.”
Katheryn Conrad received a similar letter. “I was codefendant for fraud, the US Treasury. I would be referred to the police department if I didn’t pay him right away.” Conrad, of Crestwood, said she doesn’t owe any debt, and she doesn’t know the names of the codefendants mentioned on the letter. Her only connection is those individuals may have lived in the same apartment building at one point.
News 4 has received complaints about CDL & Associates dating back to 2014. In 2014 a man who went by the name Anthony James showed up on the doorstep of Tashay Williams to collect an alleged debt. After running the license plates for the debt collector News 4 determined the man’s name wasn’t Anthony James, but Randall Lang.
In 2017 Cynthia Terry contacted News 4 after receiving a letter accusing her of first-degree robbery charges and an immediate arrest from the same company. The individual attempting to collect the debt went by the name Steve Scott, but once again it was determined to be Randall Lang. Also that year, Rob Swearingen of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri said, “he’s violating a number of laws. He’s violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, but he’s also impersonating a prosecutor. He is breaking laws."
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is clear. Debt Collectors can’t imply arrest for non-payment of a debt.
“I think this is clearly across the line in my opinion,” said Wesley Bell, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney, who was made aware of the letters showing up around St. Louis County. “This letter seems to have the color of the law behind it and that can intimidate people.”
When asked if the person behind the letters should be prosecuted Bell said, “this is something we would definitely want to look into. It’s definitely on our radar.”
Both Jolana Woodard and Kathryn Conrad were contacted by a man claiming to be Steven Anthony. News 4 called CDL & Associates and the phone was answered by a man named Steven Anthony. When asked to speak with Randall Lang the call went silent and disconnected. A follow up voicemail was not returned.
At Larimore Liquors a man behind the counter said, “I think he goes by Anthony, he works for CDL Associates” referring to the individual the business deals with for debt collection. The man behind the counter said he doesn’t know a man named Randall Lang.
“We don’t know what he does,” he said when asked if there was concern CDL Associates was sending letter threatening to arrest people. “Don’t know what he does after that, we just give it to him for collection.”
The St. Louis County Prosecutor’s office confirms two local police agencies are now looking into the letters. If you received a letter from CDL & Associates threatening arrest or court action the St. Louis County prosecutor would like to be made aware.