On Wednesday morning, over 20 FBI agents descended upon two locations on Chestnut Street in Thayer. Eyewitnesses reported seeing agents taking out computers and plastic bags of items from 211 Chestnut St., and 111 Chestnut St.
The Quill was first notified by phone that agents were on the scene at about 11:30 a.m. that day; another call shortly after 1 p.m. said agents were still actively working. Eyewitnesses report the federal agents were onsite for about three hours.
Thayer Police Chief Daryl Childers confirmed that his department was not aware of the raid until right before it happened and was not involved with the investigation. Childers said the only information he had about the businesses led him to believe they were involved in telemarketing.
According to the Better Business Bureau, the businesses raided were called Angels LLC and Readers Club of America, both not accredited by the BBB.
Court documents related to a 2012 lawsuit in Colorado show that a Thayer-based business called Angels LLC was owned by Yvonne Patterson, whose son Michael owned a company on trial for deceptive trade practices. According to the records, the company, called World Wide Readers Service and based in Littleton, Colo., was involved with selling fraudulent magazine subscriptions.
In witness testimony given during the trial, a former Angels LLC employee claimed the company pretended to have a preexisting business relationship with the consumers it contacted. The former employee read examples of the company’s sales scripts and they included phrases that tried to make the company seem as though it was working for a credit and collection department with a magazine.
The former employee said he left the company when he developed a full understanding of how they were deceiving consumers. After leaving, he said he contacted the Federal Trade Commission and informed the agency of Angels LLC’s business practices.
The BBB shows Jennifer Roybal as the owner of Readers Club of America. Customer reviews and complaints on the BBB profile page for the company indicates that it was also involved with selling magazine subscriptions.
The Quill reached out to the FBI office in Kansas City and a spokesman with the agency said the raid in Thayer was a court-authorized law enforcement activity in connection with an ongoing investigation.
No further details on the investigation are yet available.