Police Gazette Investigation Continues into Notorious Jiu-Jitsu Fraud and Phony War Hero
Droves of New Witnesses Emerge to Reveal Lang’s History of Dishonesty, Social Deviance, and Criminal Impersonation
The David Lang Saga, Part Two
By Briggs Seekins
In the week since the National Police Gazette broke our investigation into notorious Brazilian jiu-jitsu fraud and phony war hero David Lang, citizens of Cortland County, NY, have been contacting this writer multiple times every day, anxious to share their own insights and experiences with the man multiple sources describe as “a sociopath.” The uproar caused by the Police Gazette‘s exposé made it impossible for Lang to remain at his location. And Jeff Edwards, owner of the Northeast Martial Arts Institute facility where David Lang ran his phony school, confirms Lang has been kicked out of the building. But rumors are already circulating that Lang is attempting to reopen at a new location, a situation we will be keeping a close watch on.
Sources who spent time training at Lang’s phony school in the past year report he is continuing to lie to the public about serving in the military and studying jiu-jitsu in Brazil. But over a half dozen sources who have known Lang since his childhood report he has never left Cortland County for longer than a few days at a time since moving there when he was seven.
Recent Lang “students” also report he has been actively trying to seduce young women who attend his school and that he has been telling absurd stories about prominent Cortland leaders running illegal gambling operations out of the basement of the school. Meanwhile, it was uncovered that the entire time Lang was running his phony BJJ school and claiming to be active in competing and training at the extremely arduous sport of jiu-jitsu, he has also been presenting himself as disabled to the Cortland County Child Support Collections Services.
This writer has been contacted by over a dozen people familiar with Lang from every phase of his life and they have all been universal in their condemnation of his pattern of antisocial and dishonest behavior, which seems to have been in place well before he took any interest in Brazilian jiu-jitsu or mixed martial arts.
Perhaps no source has been more anxious to speak out against Lang than Joshua Allen of Cortland. Mr. Allen has known Lang since the two of them were 13. In their late teens and early 20s he considered Lang among his closest friends as the two played together in a series of Christian heavy metal bands.
“I invested so much time in him as a friend,” Mr. Allen told me in a FaceTime interview. “I put a lot of trust in him. I spent hours and hours talking to him. He portrayed himself to be something, a devout Christian, but he was completely the opposite.”
Mr. Allen said he finds Lang’s claims of having served in the 101st Infantry Division especially disturbing. Not only does Mr. Allen know that Lang never left Cortland County long enough to attend basic training, let alone serve two tours in Afghanistan, he was also a witness to a paint-ball gun accident when the two were teenagers that left Lang blind in one eye and unfit for military service.
Multiple sources have confirmed that Lang actually had a friend at one point who served in the 101st and that Lang has been recycling this actual veteran’s stories as his own since the days when he operated an after-market car parts business called Narrow Gate Street Company in the early years of the century.
Mr. Allen and multiple other sources have described Lang’s business as a poorly stocked fiasco that quickly emptied his first wife’s savings account and left the young couple in a bad financial situation. Mr. Allen also noted that while Lang claimed an important part of the business was spreading the gospel, the walls of the shop were covered with posters and calendars of partially nude women.
The conditions under which Mr. Allen’s friendship with Lang dissolved leave him still seething nearly eight years later. On two separate occasions, Lang committed criminal impersonation and gave Mr. Allen’s name and date of birth to police officers when pulled over for traffic violations.
The first of these incidents occurred in Syracuse, NY, and Mr. Allen did not discover it until over a year later when he received a summons from the Syracuse City Court. When Mr. Allen traveled to Syracuse and met with the officer who had issued the violation, the officer immediately realized he was not the individual from the actual traffic stop. Despite over a year passing, he had a very clear memory of Lang. Like almost everybody who has dealt with Lang at a superficial level, he remembered the con artist as an extremely pleasant, polite and likable individual. The year and model of the car in the report also perfectly matched Lang’s own vehicle.
Mr. Allen described his reaction at the time as stunned. “It felt surreal,” he reported. Mr. Allen said he tried to coax a confession out of Lang at their next band practice by asking everybody to have a prayer circle so “we could bring up anything we might have done to wrong one another or others and put it in the open before God.”
“I was still that loyal and trusting towards him as a friend that I really thought he would just admit it and I would be able to forgive him and move on,” said Mr. Allen. Instead Lang kept quiet and then completely denied doing it when Mr. Allen gave up and questioned him directly.
Mr. Allen says that he then called the police officer in Syracuse and put him on the phone with Lang. Lang left the room and came back moments later. “His entire countenance was fallen when he came back to the room,” Mr. Allen reported. “His face was flushed red and his eyes were teared up. He gave me back the phone and the police officer told me that he had just confessed to everything.”
However, once Mr. Allen hung up with the police officer, he says that rather than apologizing and asking for forgiveness, Lang instead immediately claimed that the police officer had lied about everything. Lang proceeded to claim that the entire thing was merely the work of Satan and his demons, who were influencing the police officer in Syracuse to sow discord between Lang and Mr. Allen.
Mr. Allen said this first incident put a definite strain on his relationship with Lang, but that he felt so shocked and confused by the entire situation that he reacted slowly. However, shortly after this incident, he received another citation for a traffic stop in Cortland as Lang had once more given police Mr. Allen’s name and birth date when stopped for talking on a cell phone while driving in Cortland. Though Mr. Allen had not pressed charges in the Syracuse incident, after the Cortland trick Lang was charged with a crime. He’s been arrested on other occasions as well, and a search of online records for Cortland County reveals Lang has been involved in a steady stream of litigation over failure to pay taxes, child support, and rent.
This time the friendship was over for good. When describing all these incidents, Mr. Allen’s facial expressions and tone of voice indicated that he remains shocked and amazed by Lang’s callous and criminal behavior to this day.
In this writer’s opinion, Lang’s pattern of using religion to deceive and manipulate is entirely consistent with his use of BJJ and MMA. Mr. Allen and other sources who have known Lang for most or all of his life are not surprised to learn about his never-ending deceptions, though his choice of MMA has surprised them.
“We all laughed our asses off when we heard he had opened a school in Ithaca,” one source reported. “We thought somebody would have beaten him up a long time ago, though.” Mr. Allen and other sources remembered Lang frequently being teased by friends and family as a child and teenager due to his feminine running and punching styles.
But religion and martial arts training are both methods people use to develop themselves into better people. The atmosphere in both realms is almost always one of mutual support, openness and generosity. They are both perfect environments for a con man trying to cultivate the trust of unsuspecting people.
The fact that at least one or two people still appear to be deceived by Lang at this point, despite the overwhelming evidence now on the public record against him, is a good indication of how strenuously he has worked to get his hooks into certain particularly vulnerable individuals. Last year the Cortland Standard, the area’s paper of record, even published a puff piece hailing the launching of Lang’s BJJ and MMA programs at the Northeast Martial Arts Institute.
Sources close to Lang’s family report he was already exhibiting manipulative behaviors at a very early age, which appeared to have been reinforced every step of the way by his mother Patricia Lang. Mrs. Lang has worked with non-profits and church missionary groups in the Cortland County area.
“Dave could never do any wrong,” one source reported. “No matter what was said about him, it was always other people picking on him.” Lang reportedly slept with his parents until age seven. Then, in the third grade, Patricia Lang removed her son from Virgil Elementary and home schooled him for the remainder of his academic career.
Over the past few years, Lang has set up various Facebook pages under different partial pseudonyms, claiming affiliations with assorted legitimate BJJ celebrities. Patricia Lang is inevitably among his most enthusiastic supporters on these pages, and her posts generally feature a large amount of God talk.
It is clear that Lang learned the manipulative potential of religion from observing his mother. A childhood friend of Lang’s from Virgil Elementary remembers calling his house to talk to him one afternoon, only to have Patricia Lang come on the line and berate her at length for being an “earthly sinner.” “Keep in mind,” the source added, “I was all of nine years old at this time.”
In addition, there is one other extremely disturbing story from Lang’s past that I am not going to write about in this series due to the victims involved. But it is a story I have had confirmed by multiple sources, including Mr. Allen. As a writer who has been exhaustive in my research into Lang, I will state in no uncertain terms that for him to be placed in a position where he can cultivate the trust of a vulnerable young person is a situation that could have potentially tragic consequences.
Contact Briggs Seekins at firstname.lastname@example.org