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Jan 02 2012

Cobra Collection Agency Scam: Past Editorials

This section is for past Cobra Collection Agency Scam editorials that didn’t fit into a “news report” category. These are largely opinions, commentaries, open letters, and speculations.

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The “Two Sides” to Janice Ledden’s Story (Updated: 4/4/09)

For two years, Janice has perpetuated that there are “two sides” to her story. She said this to the news media when they reported on her. She tells her family this. And she tells people in Fairbanks this. Anyone who believes that is either a stupendously, gullible moron or they have not taken the time to thoroughly read the research and reports on this website.

Yes, I am the editor of this website but all the information, reports, newscasts, videos, complaints, and stories did not just come into creation because of my creative story writing skills. The content here is not fictional, they are based on actual research and reports. This came about because many angry, upset, and knowledgeable people stepped up to contribute information to this website. I would also like to add that many people did not report this anonymously. They openly reported their experiences. Many are reputable members of the Columbus business community.

No one person (including me) knows the whole story. This website is the collective knowledge of most of the information submitted to me for distillation, organization, and compilation. In that regard, there are NOT just two sides of the story. There are literally 100 sides (parties/people) to this story! The two sides that Janice refers to are her’s and Michael’s and no one elses.

Can anyone honestly believe the following notions?

  • There is a big massive conspiracy to single out Janice just because some people dislike her.
  • People are making criminal accusations because of hurt feelings.
  • People are jealous of Janice, her accomplishments, and her talents which is why people want to get “revenge” on her.
  • The police and news media got involved because of unfounded rumor and gossip.
  • I continue this website for the fortune and fame it will give me.

Anyone wants to listen to the “two sides” of Janice’s story can listen to hers and Michael’s. Then when you are done listening to THEIR version, come read this website which is the compilation of the other 98 sides of the story.


 

The Right to Report on Newsworthy Items (Updated: 2/11/09)

I was unexpectedly contacted by relatives of Janice Ledden expressing their unhappiness about my publishing their names on this website. Although I did not accuse them of any criminal wrongdoing, they understandably do not want their names tarnished by association. Out of courtesy and respect to them, I promptly removed their names as requested. However, I do want to make it known that this is a news website reporting on a newsworthy subject. I am a publisher and author and one important thing I do is report on facts and newsworthy items. This case has been and continues to be newsworthy. This website also contains editorials which means I write opinions of this case.

To clarify, the First Amendment and Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution provides for Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Press. The caveat is that I have to tell the truth and report facts accurately and responsibly, not be reckless. One person “threatened” me with an attorney. That was the sort of empty, hollow, nastiness Janice repeatedly engaged in that enraged so many people. Janice had no trouble threatening lawsuits against people including me. Janice also frequently dared others if they did not like her actions to come sue her knowing all the while it would be very difficult for her opponents to win.

If anyone feels that the reporting here is inaccurate, feel free to contact me and I will correct it. One person respectfully pointed out a couple of facts and inaccuracies and I promptly removed the incorrect entries. Every effort is being made to report responsibly and accurately.

Janice can thank herself for helping create this website by dragging and screwing over so many people over the years that they felt like they had to unite and speak out to protect others. Reporting on this case has been so easy because so many people have so much to say and tell.


 

To the Owner/Managers of the Fairbanks Law Firm Employing Janice Ledden (Updated: 2/9/09)

I want you to know that I know the name of you, your law firm, your business address, and your contact information. I am telling you this out of professional courtesy so that you are not blind-sided later on if more information is revealed. On behalf of myself and other members of the Columbus GA business community, we want to see justice served and we believe that Janice should be brought back to Georgia to face the criminal charges against her.

I understand this is not your fight but if you knowingly employ a person with a criminal past and place her in a position of sensitive personal, corporate, financial, and client information, you stand to be liable for any actions Janice has taken on behalf of your law firm. Further, your reputation in Alaska as attorneys and your law firm could be damaged with your continued association and employment of Janice Ledden.

No one here in Columbus GA bears anyone in Fairbanks Alaska any malice or ill will. Very few will hold it against you for being fooled by Janice Ledden. Many of us in Columbus GA were fooled for much longer. However, there is a growing impatience by many that Janice got away scott-free to Alaska. There are now concerned citizens in Fairbanks that unhappy that she lives and works in their community.

There is no wish to embarass you or your law firm. If we wanted to do that, we could have placed your names and contact information here but we have chosen not to do so. I should give fair warning that the time may eventually come when someone may be compelled to contact the local news media and other legal or government authorities in Alaska.

Is one employee with a criminal past really worth your loyalty and reputation? Please think about this and reconsider your position in keeping Janice Ledden in your employment. You may want to consider encouraging Janice to resign and offer her severance pay so that she leaves your law firm peacefully to solve your huge potential liability.

I predict that you are sitting on a ticking time bomb that will go off causing a business scandal in Fairbanks at some point. Old habits die hard and I am confident Janice is up to her old tricks. It is all a matter of time. If it were me, I would want to be proactive about this instead of being reactive after irreparable damage has been done.


 

To the Employees of the Fairbanks Alaska Law Firm (Updated: 2/7/09)

We need your help to find additional information on Janice and Michael Ledden. If you have not already done so, you should read this website completely and view all the videos. This was a big deal for the Columbus, GA business community in 2007. This will be a big deal for the Fairbanks, Alaska business community when Janice is ultimately found out.

Your employer made a big mistake in hiring Janice Ledden without conducting a background and reference check. If your employer knows about Janice’s criminal past and not doing anything to protect you and their clients, they will soon have a big problem on their hands. I believe that Janice’s employment must be terminated immediately. She is a pariah to any company or business she works for and cannot be trusted.

There is certain information I cannot publicly disclose at the request of certain authorities but you can believe that your association with Janice can be a problem for you unless you stay informed and stay “in the loop”. The way to to “stay in the loop” is to directly contact me.

Many of you employees and your firm’s business clients will ultimately suffer the fallout if you do not band together, share information, and take proactive measures to protect yourself. Janice now has access to many of your personnel, financial, and client’s files and information. Every day that Janice works for your employer is one more additional day’s worth of contact that can affect you all. If you don’t believe it, ask the ex-employees and ex-clients in Columbus, GA that worked with Janice. Many are paying a heavy price for being associated with her for so long.

I thank the Fairbanks concerned citizen but we need more information on this case so I can forward it to the police. You can directly email me at matt30060@gmail.com and we can make arrangements to have a conversation.

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Where There is Smoke, There is Fire (Updated: 6/15/07)

So much talk has been generated in the business community because of the Cobra Collection scam, the TV news coverage, and this website. Can any of you imagine how big this has gotten so quickly because of a tiny website?

Public statements to the media by Janice either shows she is in denial or she is simply lying. She has portrayed herself as a victim of embezzlement, out-of-control expenses, unethical employees, unfair portrayal by this website, gross exaggeration of “facts”, personal attacks, and so forth. Let us think about this rationally.

There is a saying, “where there is smoke, there is fire”. The problem with the Cobra Collection situation is that the smoke didn’t point to a little cozy campfire. People can forgive and deal with small fires. Unfortunately, the smoke pointed to an absolute fire bomb and explosion waiting to go off because of the fuels of frustration, lies, denials, empty excuses, suspicions of theft, and blaming.

All this website did was provide the spark and a bit of oxygen. The fuel was all there and there were barrels of it. I did not provided the fuel, we only provided the oxygen. But remember, no matter how many sparks you light and how much oxygen you dump, there can be no fire (in this case, an explosion) without the fuel.

All these people had all this “fuel” (frustration, anger, betrayal, disappointment, guilt, payback, suspicion, etc) pent up for the last couple of years and wanted to release it somewhere. They could not release it to the BBB because all they could do is take reports. They could not release it to the police because it was “a civil matter”. They could not release it to the court system because there was insufficient proof. Janice knew all of this. That is why she often used “coercive words” to keep her employees in line or threatened others (including me!) with a lawsuit if we spoke publicly about it. Or with dissatisified clients, she would boldly tell them to sue her knowing that most people either did not have the internal fortitude, the absolute evidence, or the know how to do it. And if they won, so what? She would just get a slap on the hand. Bottom line, she would not be afraid of anything short of bodily harm or incarceration.

Janice knows that most of us in respectable businesses do not engage in “thug” behavior. We are civilized people and we simply don’t go around beating up people when people do wrong. I will admit to you, I have had thoughts of someone bodyslamming her, but we all can fantasize right? But at the end of the day, I, along with everyone else, basically would not resort to “thug” behavior and she knew it.

And, of course, who would come defend the debtors? After all, even the business clients were after them to pay. It has been amazing to actually see that debtors and business join forces against a collection agency! Hollywood could not have made up this stuff if they tried! Suing and collecting from a collection agency because they were bullying the debtors and stealing from the clients? What the hell. What a weird concept.

Talk about burning a candle on both ends. There are no candles that exist for the different ways she was burning it. However, one thing I will give credit to Janice for is she was an equal-opportunity burner! She didn’t discriminate much and I have taken it much less personally than before the stories came in. From all the calls and emails, it came in from all directions. She burned the debtors, her clients, her vendors, the banks, her landlords, and even her employees! Heck, even her family has been burned by sheer association with her. I feel really bad for them. I would be so embarassed.

I have said before that I have done my best to report the facts. It is entirely possible I got some of it wrong. If so, I will publicly admit it. But it will take more than empty words and claims. In a court of law, you can pull all kinds of technical crap to get off the hook. In the court of public opinion, people know better. And it isn’t like, we don’t have anything in our hands to show either. But I don’t see anyone from the Cobra side offering to show evidence that there was embezzlement, spiraling expenses, unethical employees, etc.

We only see and hear evidence of a Harley Davidson motorcycle, plastic surgery, outrageous eBay purchases, a hot tub, a trip to Hawaii, living up near the Maple Ridge area, two new vehicles, etc. Sure, there were a lot of other business expenses. All businesses have them. Many have gone out of business but they didn’t have people coming to them accusing them of criminal behavior! They simply went bankrupt with no charges of criminal behavior. Even the vendors and utility companies are indicating non-payment! Basically, it appears to be a “look out for Janice and Michael first” philosophy. Let the clients, debtors, vendors, landlords, and employees all hang.

Gee, I cannot imagine why anyone would get upset and occasionally make a personal attack. After all, who runs and operates a small company? We are not talking about GE, Ford, GM, IBM, Proctor & Gamble, or any other huge conglomerates here. We are talking about the independent entrepreneur and small business. Incorporated or not, people know the truth. “The corporation” did not make the decisions, people did. The owners and management did. It will be natural that people will want justice from the owners.

Addtionally, corporate protection only applies to those that make reasonable efforts to operate as a separate entity. The “corporate veil” can be pierced and corporate protection does not defend anyone from criminal behavior. The corporate checking account is not a personal checking account to pull anytime you want or spend recklessly. It would be interesting to see the paper trail and the detailed statements of the bank accounts.

There are several sayings that apply here. “You reap what you sow”. “What goes around, comes around.” I wonder if Janice and Michael are getting the life lesson at all. Life on the lam is going to be rough.

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Internet Traffic from Fairbanks Alaska (Updated: 7/15/07)

Periodically, I get curious about what kind of Internet traffic my websites get. And seeing that I have strong reason to believe Janice & Michael are now residing in Fairbanks, Alaska, I thought it might be interesting to see what kind of Internet traffic came from Alaska. After all, why would anyone in Alaska have interest in such a local Columbus, Georgia issue? Readers in Alaska would have to have some connection to me or Columbus, GA to be reading this site.

Take a look at what I found in my Internet traffic logs searching on “alaska” shows. Notice the amount of data in megabytes (MB) and the dates. Example: “14 July 2007” = “July 14, 2007”

216-67-41-44-cdsl-rb1.fai.acsalaska.net 28 87 39.89 MB 14 Jul 2007 – 03:35

216-67-49-52-cdsl-rb1.fai.acsalaska.net 14 49 19.06 MB 09 Jul 2007 – 15:58

66-230-88-24-dial-as2.nwc.acsalaska.net 6 28 14.45 MB 15 Jul 2007 – 16:14

216-67-70-17-dsl-rb1.fai.acsalaska.net 4 14 7.25 MB 12 Jul 2007 – 14:47

66-230-85-187-cdsl-rb1.fai.acsalaska.net 3 14 7.22 MB 14 Jul 2007 – 15:14

216-67-40-12-cdsl-rb1.fai.acsalaska.net 3 14 7.22 MB 13 Jul 2007 – 12:10

ACSAlaska.net points to Alaska Communication Systems servicing the Alaska area. It appears that ACS provides all kinds of telecommunication services for Alaska which includes mobile phones and Internet access.

Even more interesting is “fai” which is probably short for “fairbanks”. “dsl” & “cdsl” appear to be high-speed connections. And “dial” appear to be slow, dial-up or cell phone connections.

There is a good amount of data being downloaded into Alaska. Keep in mind this proves very little except there is someone or some people in Alaska greatly interested in the information on this website. It is not “passing through” traffic. There is actually some serious reading and downloading going on in Fairbanks, Alaska. Who could it be? Virginia or her husband? Friends or family of Virginia? Janice or Michael?

If you happen to be an interested reader from Alaska not associated with Janice or Michael, please identify yourself so we can separate your traffic from the others.


 

Welcome to the State of Alaska? (Updated: 7/15/07)

I now have reason to believe that Janice & Michael Ledden have recently moved to Alaska. It has been difficult to determine this as I have waited for corroborating reports and sources. I now have sufficient information/evidence to support the Alaska assertion. The exact reason why they seem to have chosen Alaska is still unclear. Various theories have been given but it has been difficult to verify with any degree of certainty. I am writing this in hopes that someone will “fill in the large gaps” of information we do not have.

One theory is that it is easy for people to “get lost” and restart in Alaska. Another theory is that Janice is trying to reconnect with daughter, Virginia, who is likely to be in Alaska. Another theory is that Michael may have spent some time in Alaska during his time in the military.

Regardless of the actual reason, I strongly believe Janice & Michael are now in Alaska. It would appear they have taken their personal belongings and driven there. There is speculation that John B. Young may have gone with them to Alaska.

The best guess we have is that Janice and Michael met up with Virginia in Fairbanks, Alaska. If Virginia’s husband is in the U.S. Army, they would be staying near Ft. Wainright or Ft. Greely. If Virginia does assist Janice, Michael, and family, let us hope she is not foolish enough to do so on military base. I hear that is really a bad thing to house civilians IF you live on base. We are in process of finding out more details.

If Janice and Michael are stupid enough to start another collection agency business in Alaska, it will be a simple matter to contact the TV stations and connect them with WTVM and WRBL here in Columbus. Of course, I expect they will change their names to aliases. Any search on Janice’s various names or Michael’s will certainly turn up this website.

I would appreciate it if anyone who has additional information on their whereabouts in Alaska to report in.


 

Current State of Michael Ledden’s Children? (Updated: 8/1/07)

Up to this point (with only one exception), I have avoided writing commentary about Michael Ledden’s children. My one article was actually a plea to Michael Ledden to get out of the situation for his children’s benefit, if not for himself. However, he has clearly ignored that plea.

Some reports are coming in that biggest victims of this Cobra Collection scam is not the ex-clients, ex-employees, ex-vendors, and debtors. I am beginning to believe that the highest price being paid are by Michael Ledden’s children.

I have been somewhat uncomfortable, in fact almost avoiding, the issue of the children. It is a very uncomfortable subject for me to write for a variety of reasons. One reason is that I am trying to respect the fact they are minors and they are not responsible for their parent’s/step-parent’s actions. Another reason is that I have no children of my own and I do not what to sound like I am preaching to people how parents should raise their children. Another reason is that I feel like I am getting into very “personal” territory.

However, in light of recent reports, I can no longer ignore what I have learned. There is some disturbing information which has been provided to me. It is simply too hard for me to keep it to myself especially when I feel something has to be done. I have received some very disturbing information regarding the current state of the children. Because of the delicate nature of the information I am getting, I will be taking my time to trickle this information out as I think through the possible ramifications of some of this information coming out. It is not meant to be a “tease”. I simply don’t want to say something I cannot take back.

I am still thinking about what information to release.


 

My Message to All Cobra Collections Ex-Employees (Updated: 6/11/07)

Having spoken to five ex-employees, I have a much better understanding to what you are experiencing now with your conflicting emotions of self-preservation vs. the guilt and worry.

Let me say that it is not my place to judge you. The five ex-employees who I have spoken to, I have tried to be respectful and sympathetic with. Not everything had to be explicitly told to me. I read between the lines that some of you may have crossed the line yourself of doing some questionable and unethical things for Cobra Collections and Janice. You obviously have been living with the stress and guilt of it all. The good news is, there is a way out.

I want to ease your mind that I believe whatever you may have done is by far secondary to Janice’s extensive “troubled” history. I am not trying to be insulting to you but the good news is no one cares about going after you. You were “only an employee”. Janice and Michael are the ones captaining the ship. Janice is the captain, Michael being the loyal, but obviously misguided and not too intelligent, first officer. They are responsible for perpetuating the scam and continue to run and hide like rats in the night. But they will eventually be flushed out by someone. And just realize they are being monitored from afar. There is no illegal stalking going on but there are a lot of people with their eyes peeled wandering throughout Columbus GA that are reporting in. None of those eyes are focused on you ex-employees from my side. I promise.

I believe I have respected the anonymity of every ex-employee. From what I have been told, Janice has a reputation of threatening others “if she goes down, you will too”. That is absolutely not true. She is playing to your fears. Remember, she is a master manipulator. The reason that is not true is because Janice has zero credibility and her character is questionable in light of her past criminal record and bankruptcies. No one will believe her and everyone holds her accountable. She has a pattern of hiding, deception, and telling mistruths. I am very certain that you ex-employees cannot compare. And even if it does, the focus is not on you at all.

Ex-employees, it is entirely up to you whether you should speak up or not. However, just realize that you have never had more friends and allies on your side going against Janice and Michael. You are not alone and there has never been a better time to step up and help make things right. Even if some “dirt” were to come out on you, I would not disclose that information. Do the right thing, make yourself feel better, and tell someone.

If you don’t, I believe you will pay a heavy price over time. It will eat you up inside. I believe the negative karma will follow you until you get rid of it. You will feel better trying to right the wrongs committed in the past. Regardless of whether or not you ever speak to me or anyone else, I hope you learned your lesson to never become involved or participate in illegal and unethical actions that could one day haunt you. I don’t mean to sound “holier than thou” because I am far from perfect and that is not my intent. It is simply good advice for everyone to follow.


 

Will Janice Become a Career Criminal and Fugitive? (Updated: 6/10/07)

The overwhelming information and interviews gathered thus far indicates that Janice is on her way on becoming a career criminal (if she is not already there). This is now coming to light as more people from all levels of association with Janice report years of misappropriation of funds, theft of client files, illegal collection tactics, misrepresentation and hiding of information, internal theft, and tax evasion.

Even if she manages to evade criminal prosecution, the court of public opinion in the Greater Columbus GA area will not paint her in a favorable light, nor will it be forgiving. She may continue to live in the Columbus GA area but she will likely become a pariah and outcast within the business community where everyone will shun her. Cobra Collections will long be considered a tainted and tarnished name.

At the current age of 46, I believe Janice’s future is quite bleak. She may find new victims but she will likely bring shame, embarrassment, and negative karma to anyone she is associated with. They say “like people attract others similar to them”. In that regard, she will likely attract other “losers”, the legally-challenged, the credit-challenged, the financially-challenged, and and the ethically-challenged. Because no one of decent moral, legal, or financial character (regardless of their race, age, or socio-economic status) will ever associate with her. To do so would almost be tantamount to committing social, professional, and reputational suicide.

In years past, there was no Internet and so it was much easier to hide, get away with it, and get a second chance. However, with the Internet, Janice will likely have to create or hijack another identity because the usefulness of her existing identity is nearly over. Every major Internet search engine has picked up this website in one capacity or another.

Too many people from all walks of life and a diversity of professional and socio-economic backgrounds have banded together through this online project. It will be too difficult for Janice and Michael to say to anyone that an entire city or business community “misunderstood them”, was imagining this, or and simply “out to get them” for no reason. The whole idea that this was entirely concocted or a conspiracy is simply too ridiculous for any rational person to believe.

And because Janice appears to be in denial, continues to maintain her “innocence”, and will not come forward or cooperate with anyone, this scam will likely haunt her for years to come. She will likely leave a legacy and memory of being a career criminal, and ultimately a fugitive living in the underground economy.

I truly feel sorry for her family and relatives. People say there is a black sheep in everyone’s family. I would venture to say she has not only become the black sheep of her family but the black elephant in the room but no one wants to talk about.


 

Cobra Collections Shutdown Imminent? (Updated: 6/8/07)

I have conferred with Jerry Bolt and based on the unexpected discovery of Janice’s and Michael’s discarded resumes, removal of the Cobra Collection Agency signage, and the nature of the trash/debris left behind at 3500 University Ave., there is evidence that a Cobra shutdown is imminent.

If this happens to be the case, this will have caught me (and many others) unaware and unexpected.

Please note this is conjecture at this point. If someone could physically pay a visit to their office for a friendly visit and report back to me, our community would greatly appreciate it.

(Please note that I typically would not post an unsubstantiated or unsupported statement of this kind. But if Cobra is indeed near shutdown, this will take this scam into an unexpected direction. I want our readers to be prepared for such a possibility.)


 

Will Cobra Collections File for Bankruptcy Soon?

I made a prediction that Janice might be a flight risk. (See the comments under the Janice Ledden Page). Before she flees, I am also predicting that she will file for bankruptcy within 90 days. Remember, Janice is not a stupid woman. She also has a strong sense of self-preservation. If that means “bending or breaking” the rules here and there, I believe she will do it. How I have determined this is based of her past criminal record, stories told to me, and her publicly asking for 90 days (both on TV and in letter) so that she can “pay everyone back”.

Before I go further, I absolutely hope to be wrong and Janice fully repays everyone!

The next 90 days will be crucial to get her affairs in proper order before she shuts down. Janice needs time to confer with her advisors and bankruptcy attorney. She also needs to raise the necessary monies for legal fees and to prepare for her personal survival after Cobra shuts down.

If people give her 90 days, the pressure on her is reduced. Presumably, there will be no criminal charges and no lawsuits to respond to. Janice can then focus on collecting whatever monies she can before she has to “officially” shut down. She will likely make debtors pay in cash which is much harder to track and follow. The monies will likely be funneled to trusted individuals or hidden locations so that she can “truthfully” claim she does not have any monies in her possession. Those monies could be also be used for pre-paid rents for a rental house or apartment somewhere.

Janice will also likely spend the money on things that bankruptcies cannot easily touch. For example, if she used the money for plastic surgery or medical improvements on herself, there is no way that benefit could ever be taken away from her through any legal proceeding because the benefit would be stored within her personally. (Jerry Bolt and I both agree Janice’s appearance has changed drastically recently. Jerry was amazed by how Janice looked on TV. Compare that with the photos taken in 2005.)

Janice may “dispose” of files, business equipment, and office supplies with trusted individuals or in a hidden location. Janice will likely go back into business at some point (which may or may not be in the Columbus area) and she would not have to use her money to buy the supplies and equipment she needed.

Remember, she is currently funneling all mail and correspondence to a P.O. Box now. A bankruptcy filing would not require her to give up the P.O. Box. As long as she has a cell phone, her files, basic supplies, and office equipment, she could continue operating out of her bedroom, if necessary.

At this point, some readers may think I am creating a conspiracy theory. Maybe, maybe not. To that, I would say that I trust my instincts. Janice is a very smart and crafty woman that should not be underestimated. She has an extensive history of not keeping to her word. (You can check with individuals in the Testimonials section.) Obviously, I am not omniscient but one only has to look at the past to figure out what will happen in the future.

People (with malicious intent) who file for bankruptcy tend to go out with a big bang. They go into extreme self-preservation mode and will bend, stretch, and break the rules if they have to. It means that Janice will milk everything she can before Cobra (the company) is forced to shut down.

I absolutely hope to be wrong and Janice repays everyone!

But it cannot happen because Cobra is in too deep and Janice does not appear to have access to outside financial resources. My initial estimates of what she owes other people is in the $40,000 to $60,000 range. It could be far more depending on how many other people are suffering in silence. Exactly what is going to happen, within 90 days, that this money will magically appear?

No one has reported to me that anyone is receiving even the smallest of payments. If no one is getting event the smallest of payments, how is anyone going to get the large payments? Is she going to win the lottery? I don’t think so.

This website did not come into existence simply because I was bored and had nothing better else to do. This website is meant to educate and inform the uninformed. Part of that responsibility is anticipating and preparing for the the worst. Obviously, all of this is speculation on my part. I am not doing it with malice. It is based on my personal experience with Janice and conversations with all the informers caught up in this fiasco.

I say to you, “Be prepared for the worst.”

P.S. My theory of Cobra Collections’ impending bankruptcy was supported by the two ex-employee sisters (K&F). They report that Janice frequently threatened to file bankruptcy and leave the business behind.


 

Is Janice a Flight Risk? (Updated: 6/9/07)

Janice has some serious problems on her hands. The way she has conducted herself and interacted with her clients has destroyed the goodwill anyone would have given to her. Anyone in business knows there is always a chance that business will go bad. But generally, there is an assumption that the owners and managers are being as responsible as they can be and conducting themselves in a manner that will engender some goodwill. Janice has not earned or retained any goodwill from anyone except from the people who are ignorant of the situation or how she operates.

Nearly everyone I spoke to was willing to work with Janice and her situation before things got really bad. But the truth of the matter is, Janice chose to simply deny there was a problem and simply ignore everyone unitl the heat was turned up in a big way. I am not Dr. Phil but I believe that people like her tend to run and avoid. They also go into shutdown mode. They don’t know how to recognize a big problem until it is too late. She thinks she can deceive, manipulate, evade, and basically trick her way out this situation.

I have a strong suspicion that if the heat gets turned up enough, there is a chance that Janice will eventually leave the Columbus GA area. If she did leave the area, I was told that some places she might end up moving to are Alaska to join her daughter (at least temporarily), Hawaii to join her son in the Army, or Albany, GA where Michael Ledden is from. I am only bringing this up so that everyone reading this will be prepared for the unexpected.

I believe Janice (and subsequently Michael) is a flight risk and may run from her problems. If she does, it will be her biggest mistake yet. In the age of the Internet, this will continue to follow her until its “natural conclusion”. I believe that Janice’s business reputation has been severely and irreparably damaged. It will be a long time before anyone reputable in the Greater Columbus GA area will deal with her again. In fact, she will have to rely on the rule, “A sucker is born every day.” She has burned some very significant, vocal, and influential people. People will remember a long time.

She may resolve her civil problems through bankruptcy but getting rid of her criminal problems will not be quite so easy if enough people come out and start filing police reports. Janice has been incarcerated before and she may not want to face that again.

Addendum: K&F (ex-employee sisters) believe that Janice wants plastic surgery to significantly change her appearance so that she becomes less identifiable if she runs. They believe that Janice may move to Albany, GA (where Michael Ledden is from) if she leaves Columbus, GA.


 

Will Janice Divorce Again? (Updated: 6/9/07)

There has been some discussion that Janice might divorce again for one reason or another. It is a known fact that people who have divorced more than once are more likely to divorce again. If Janice does divorce Michael (or vice versa), I believe Michael can provide some interesting insights into the Cobra situation. However, recent information from four ex-employee places Michael at the center of the Cobra Collection scam. He is no longer an innocent man. He is simply hiding behind his wife’s shadow. He may not be the captain of the Cobra Collection ship but he certainly seems to be the loyal first officer. Like her captain, Michael will likely sink with the ship unless he goes for a lifeboat or a raft.

Janice has a bit of a reputation of being a people user and discarder. It is entirely possible that Michael will outlive his usefulness. By divorcing Michael and marrying another man, she could have a fresh start with a new last name!

Michael Ledden, if you are reading this, you may want to consider getting out while you still can. Or cooperate with everyone by telling us what you know. No one cares who you talk to as long as you are sharing your information with someone.


 

Is Blood Truly Thicker Than Water? (Updated: 6/10/07)

In the animal kingdom, I have heard there are some species that will eat their young as a matter of self-preservation. It would appear that this trait is alive and well with some people within the human race.

In my investigation, I have a cursory interest in Janice’s family members because two of her daughters have worked for her in some capacity or another at one or two collection agencies. Additionally, there is a possibility that Janice may escape to wherever her children are if the situation becomes desperate enough.

The person I am most sympathetic with in Janice’s immediate family is her daughter Elizabeth. I first met Elizabeth when I became a client at Credit Adjustment Bureau. I remember Elizabeth as being fiercely loyal and a committed team player especially where her mother, Janice, was concerned. This loyalty carried over to the opening of Cobra Collections.

Stories have come out regarding Elizabeth that she attempted to be a stabilizing and responsible influence on the Cobra operation. Despite the fact that Elizabeth preferred back office operations over Janice’s inclination towards client relations did not sway the consensus that Elizabeth was an asset to the Cobra operations. I have conflicting details of how Elizabeth departed the Cobra operation. Some say Elizabeth became disenchanted and left on her own accord. Others say that Janice forced her out of the company. One thing seems to be clear, everyone agrees that Elizabeth became unhappy and the mother-daughter relationship was severely damaged as a result.

The general consensus is that Elizabeth was detail-oriented, meticulous, and worked hard to make Cobra Collections a success. Up to that point in her career, I believe it was Elizabeth’s first entrepreneurial endeavor, she took pride in the business, and attempted to do a good job. The consensus is that Elizabeth attempted to be financially responsible but was often challenged and overridden by her more assertive, financially-impulsive mother.

Because I primarily interacted with Janice, my observations and communications with Elizabeth were secondary. I would not say that Elizabeth was overly personable or friendly but she seemed respectful. Over time, she seemed to be more open and friendly to people she knew. I surmise that as she saw or took my calls more frequently, there was a greater degree of familiarity. I was not just a cold stranger off the street.

Aside from my brief interactions and conversations during my phone calls and personal visits to their office, much of my information about Elizabeth has come from other individuals that knew her and ex-employees. Based on what I know, Janice has put Elizabeth in a very difficult position. I have been told that both daughters are torn between “doing the right thing” and being loyal to their mother. I would have to guess they are also extremely embarrassed and want to stay away from this entire situation. I cannot say I blame them. They must certainly understand that their mother has committed crimes too large to ignore and that the Cobra scam will have a long-lasting impact in the local community as well as their own lives.

Nevertheless, I would very much like to speak to the daughters if they are willing to speak with me. I bear them no malice and I do not hold them responsible in any way for their mother’s criminal, deceptive, illegal, and unethical actions. As I said before, I have nothing but sympathy for them. However, there is a large community who wants to see both Michael and Janice “brought to justice”.

The relationship between Janice and her adult children will truly be a test whether blood is thicker than water. Time will tell whether the children can actually stay neutral over the long haul.


 

Will Cobra Collections File for Bankruptcy Soon?

I made a prediction that Janice might be a flight risk. (See the comments under the Janice Ledden Page). Before she flees, I am also predicting that she will file for bankruptcy within 90 days. Remember, Janice is not a stupid woman. She also has a strong sense of self-preservation. If that means “bending or breaking” the rules here and there, I believe she will do it. How I have determined this is based of her past criminal record, stories told to me, and her publicly asking for 90 days (both on TV and in letter) so that she can “pay everyone back”.

Before I go further, I absolutely hope to be wrong and Janice fully repays everyone!

The next 90 days will be crucial to get her affairs in proper order before she shuts down. Janice needs time to confer with her advisors and bankruptcy attorney. She also needs to raise the necessary monies for legal fees and to prepare for her personal survival after Cobra shuts down.

If people give her 90 days, the pressure on her is reduced. Presumably, there will be no criminal charges and no lawsuits to respond to. Janice can then focus on collecting whatever monies she can before she has to “officially” shut down. She will likely make debtors pay in cash which is much harder to track and follow. The monies will likely be funneled to trusted individuals or hidden locations so that she can “truthfully” claim she does not have any monies in her possession. Those monies could be also be used for pre-paid rents for a rental house or apartment somewhere.

Janice will also likely spend the money on things that bankruptcies cannot easily touch. For example, if she used the money for plastic surgery or medical improvements on herself, there is no way that benefit could ever be taken away from her through any legal proceeding because the benefit would be stored within her personally.

Janice may “dispose” of files, business equipment, and office supplies with trusted individuals or in a hidden location. Janice will likely go back into business at some point (which may or may not be in the Columbus area) and she would not have to use her money to buy the supplies and equipment she needed.

Remember, she is currently funneling all mail and correspondence to a P.O. Box now. A bankruptcy filing would not require her to give up the P.O. Box. As long as she has a cell phone, her files, basic supplies, and office equipment, she could continue operating out of her bedroom, if necessary.

At this point, some readers may think I am creating a conspiracy theory. Maybe, maybe not. To that, I would say that I trust my instincts. Janice is a very smart and crafty woman that should not be underestimated. She has an extensive history of not keeping to her word. (You can check with individuals in the Testimonials section.) Obviously, I am not omniscient but one only has to look at the past to figure out what will happen in the future.

People (with malicious intent) who file for bankruptcy tend to go out with a big bang. They go into extreme self-preservation mode and will bend, stretch, and break the rules if they have to. It means that Janice will milk everything she can before Cobra (the company) is forced to shut down.

I absolutely hope to be wrong and Janice repays everyone!

But it cannot happen because Cobra is in too deep and Janice does not appear to have access to outside financial resources. My initial estimates of what she owes other people is in the $40,000 to $60,000 $200,000 to $300,000 range. It could be far more depending on how many other people are suffering in silence. Exactly what is going to happen, within 90 days, that this money will magically appear?

No one has reported to me that anyone is receiving even the smallest of payments. If no one is getting event the smallest of payments, how is anyone going to get the large payments? Is she going to win the lottery? I don’t think so.

This website did not come into existence simply because I was bored and had nothing better else to do. This website is meant to educate and inform the uninformed. Part of that responsibility is anticipating and preparing for the the worst. Obviously, all of this is speculation on my part. I am not doing it with malice. It is based on my personal experience with Janice and conversations with all the informers caught up in this fiasco.

I say to you, “Be prepared for the worst.”

P.S. My theory of Cobra Collections’ impending bankruptcy was supported by the two ex-employee sisters (K&F). They report that Janice frequently threatened to file bankruptcy and leave the business behind.


 

Hush Money Being Paid Out? (Updated: 6/11/07)

Last night, I received a fax from Cobra Collections (Janice and/or Michael). There was no letter or note, only photocopies of a certified mail receipt, money order, U.S. Postal Service receipts, and an online copy of the Annual Registration. I know it was from them because the FAX Identifier lists “Cobra” and their previous FAX number “7065688800”.

I thought it was interesting the receipts were dated June 4, 2007 (a Monday). I guess Zaneta Lowe’s news story running repeatedly that weekend on WTVM motivated Janice to go to the post office that very Monday to pay us. It is amazing what a little public exposure and a news story will do. She ignored us (me and the law firm representing me) repeatedly for several months and then, poof, like magic, she pays without a peep. And I didn’t even have to file a lawsuit against her.

I was kind of hoping that she might threaten to sue me as she has done in the past. I would love to go to court against her at this point. I would have given an open invitation to the readership to attend the court session. Hmm… does anyone reading this know someone in the municipal or magistrate clerk’s office? I bet they would find this interesting reading.

In the interest of truthful reporting, it appears that the Janice has paid to the law firm representing me what she owes us with a money order. She has actually made good on the NSF check. Darn it, that means I cannot prosecute on that bad check. Because the amount was under $500.00 ($212.00), it would not have been a felony anyway. That is one less police report the Columbus Police Department has to process.

I guess the heat being generated from this website is getting slightly uncomfortable for Janice and Michael. Out of the 300+ clients, I must be special enough to rate so high on the totem pole. Personally, I think it is “hush money” or “shutdown money”. What do all of you think? Should I shut down this website since we appear to have gotten paid? Do you think she is trying to make good or simply pay me off? Personally, I think she is trying to pay me off and to get rid of this website. As always, I would love to hear from you.


 

Michael R. Ledden’s Active Role in Cobra Collections (Updated: 6/8/07)

Up until recently, I have been uncertain as to Michael R. Ledden’s role in Cobra Collections. When Janice allegedly suffered a nervous breakdown sometime in late 2005/early 2006 time frame, I met with Michael himself during those friendlier times and he told me how he was doing his best to turn things around within Cobra Collections. Nevertheless, I still had reservations about how much he knew about Janice’s inappropriate and illegal machinations or participated in them. Call it my sense of “giving the benefit of the doubt”.

Unfortunately for him, all four ex-employees have come forward and unanimously state that Michael is an active and willing participant of most, if not all, of the financial manipulation, deception, and illegal machinations within Cobra Collections. I do not believe that all four employees who worked during various periods of Cobra Collections history are fabricating stories.

As such, I now believe Michael R. Ledden is an active participant of the overall Cobra Collection scam and just as guilty as Janice of most (if not all) of the accusations being brought against Janice. As far as I can tell, Michael does not have the extensive “colorful” history that Janice has. I have been told that Michael comes from Albany, GA. This appears to be substantiated by my recent conversation with his brother “S” who also lives in Albany, GA. Loyalty to his wife is commendable in most circumstances, but not if it involves criminal and unethical actions.


 

The Price of Betraying Other People’s Trust (Updated: 6/10/07)

There is the story of the Pandora’s box that when you open it, you can never put the contents back in the box ever again. I believe that when Jerry Bolt and I decided to embark on this mission of exposing Janice Ledden and breaking up the Cobra Collection scam, that there might be negative consequences to myself or Jerry. In fact, I was prepared for physical or anonymous threats against me or my property.

Although that has not yet happened, I have been told by one informant that Janice is a vindictive person and known to resort to framing people or misusing the police by making false reports. I am not too confident the police would listen to her at this point. She is really in no position to threaten to call the police on anyone.

I have spoken to Jerry about it and he does not care nor will he be intimidated. I imagine his years of being a skiptracer, collector, bounty hunter, and related businesses has toughened him up. And it doesn’t hurt that he has a company that is staffed by other tough people. (I guess that is why Jerry and I get along so well. He is tough, direct, and takes no nonsense. And he is one heck of a team player. He plays to win!)

Myself, I typically work in white-collar, professional circles and work with a team of people. And with this incident, there are a heck of a lot more people who know me now. And I believe I have quite a few more friends and friendly acquaintances than before. For now, I feel reasonably safe. Like Jerry, I feel Janice has long crossed the line and I will not be intimidated. I have never been known for being a violent person but I do have thoughts of popping her in the nose if I ever saw her. She would really need that plastic surgery then.

But I am a realist and circumstances can change. I will not take up this fight forever because I have my own life and career to lead. Therefore, I am telling all of you who have a strong interest in this case, you should occasionally print a copies of the information on this website for your own records. This website has been updated frequently and will not last forever (but it should be up for a long time to come.)

If there is one thing I have learned from Janice and being a scambuster is that I have to live and do business to a higher standard now. I have never been and will never be a perfect human being or business person but I have to live and operate to a higher standard (which is never a bad thing). I have learned a lot about life and people the last few weeks. What an interesting journey it has been being a scambuster.

Jerry Bolt teases me that I need to become a full-time scambuster because I am pretty good at this. I give him a funny look but I know he means it as a compliment. I told him the pay stinks and it has me focusing on the things I don’t want to focus on in life. A friend made a suggestion that one day I should write a book or booklet about scambusting because of this ordeal. I laughed at the idea at the time. But as the days pass, there seems to be a lot of merit to that idea. When all of this is over, I think I will write about the ideas, strategies, and thought process that was used to fight the scam. But that will not come out until some finality occurs. I have not yet determined what the conclusion will look like.

I suppose if Janice died or were successfully prosecuted and incarcerated, that would be a victory. Certainly, very few tears would be lost. If Janice paid everyone back fully, that would also be victory of sorts. But we would have to question where that money came from.

Janice never thought I would ever take the mantle up on this fight. If you read her letter to me, she threatened to contact her attorney. Hell, I contacted her attorney more than once. I also told her that telling the truth is all I had to do. I simply needed others to come forward to corroborate my story. And so many people have plus a whole heck of a lot more! I would not have to file criminal charges or sue her.

I advised Janice frequently that I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and am willing to work with anyone. But if you continue to lie and ignore the problem, there would be action taken. When that line was crossed, the wheels had been sent in motion.

Janice thinks that everyone is motivated by money. To some degree, that may be true. But people are also motivated by a sense of fair play and a sense of justice that can surpass the desire of money. Ex-employees have come forward because of their sense of guilt and betrayal. I have found all of them to be fundamentally good people who were really lead astray and wanted to believe in their employer. I am not saying they were angels but if Janice had set a better example, it would not have come to this and they would never have approached me.

She severely underestimated people’s sense of betrayal and guilt. Rumor has it that Janice was mocking my efforts with this website. After all, who in their right mind would spend so much time and energy to get so little money? Well, I didn’t do it for the money. My business partner Wes and I had long written off the money. And because I have the good fortune to have my own business, flexibility of time, and a capable support team, I was able to create this website and organize this effort.

Jerry Bolt also has his own business and flexibility of time. He has the same sense of toughness and determination I do. Together, we did wonders in such a short period of time.

Janice betrayed our trust as well so many other people’s trust. While there are many people who wish to stay anonymous, there are quite a few people who have stepped out to lend a hand in this fight. I believe there will be even more people coming forward this week with the fax broadcast we sent to her nearly 300 clients. I am grateful for the scores of people who have decided to come out and do something about it.

For such a smart, talented, charming, and resourceful woman, I always wonder how Janice could turn out to be so dumb and ignorant. She wasn’t too smart in betraying so many people. The power of betrayal returns to haunt her. The betrayer becomes the betrayed.


 

Message to Michael Ledden “Save Your Kids!” (Updated: 6/24/07)

Michael, I have some advice for you. Get the hell out of that marriage you are in. Your kids don’t need this grief and shame associated with it. Under normal circumstances, I would not tell you to abandon your wife. But come on, can you really be this stupid? Are you really this much in the dark? Has this website not educated you the degree of retribution hundreds of people (business owners, ex-employees, vendors, and debtors) are seeking? Did Janice give you a subtle threat, “If I go down, you will too.”? Or has she broken down and begged for your loyalty and forgiveness?

Dude, you have a chance to pick your poison. You still have some control to strike a deal. If you help and provide information to me or the police to help prosecute Janice, people will be more forgiving of you. If you want to stick by her, it is obviously your choice but you will bear the consequences of doing so. As far as I am concerned and the many people who have met you, you were an active accomplice.

You claim to be a good father and care about your kids. Do you really want your kids to be co-raised by Janice given everything that has come out? Your oldest child is probably Internet savvy. She has friends that has parents. Kids talk and gossip. They email, instant message, and text message each other. She knows you have shut down your office and moving from your rented home. She knows you guys have been cooped up more at home because of your hiding and screening calls. Your daughter may be young but she isn’t stupid. She may not know the details but she knows something bad is going on. She will be able to pick up the whispers and the quiet conversations behind closed doors. Kids of all ages can feel tension in the air.

Your kids will one day hate you if you don’t get them out of this situation. If you won’t get out to save yourself, do it to save them. Be a man and stop letting Janice con you into doing things her way. She conned me and the other hundreds of people. But most of us woke up. When are you going to wake up?

Give me a call or send me an email, Michael. Don’t worry, I am not that good I would be able to figure where you are. Let’s talk. We need more information and you are the guy that has it.


 

Where Are They Off To Now? (Updated: 6/27/07)

The natural follow-up to the Cobra office shutdown and the vacancy of 4801 Spring Ridge Drive leaves us victims to wonder “where are Janice & Michael Ledden going?” Currently, unconfirmed reports indicate they have left now left the Columbus, GA area. There are some theories of where they might be going but nothing has yet been confirmed.

Although most of the Columbus business community appears to be safer due to the exposure and media coverage, the next city or town they go to will be in danger of being victimized. Janice will no doubt be up to her old tricks. It is so easy to start up a Collection business and getting clients in to get some fast cash.

Right now, they have not paid anyone back civilly. They have also not yet been charged criminally. It means they have (for now) gotten away scott-free with their scam and crimes. And if this website and the ScamBusters Team happens to be an ongoing annoyance to their livelihood, they can count themselves lucky no one has successfully sued them or have not been criminally charged. If some of the working-class debtors ever find them, they might have an unpleasant confrontation.

If Janice and Michael don’t like being hounded or living in the underground, I say T.S. (tough situation or use your preferred word). Maybe they should turn themselves in and face the music. If not, then they can live like cockroaches in the dark crevices of society and the underground economy. They can then scurry away when the bright light of cold truth shine their way.

As I said before, the business community don’t resort to “thug” tactics. We can’t hire someone to punch them in the nose or give them a few bruises on their arms and legs. But we can certainly keep awareness up by simply keeping the truth alive. That may be a greater punishment for them than wasting time on any civil suit against them.

However, if and when it comes time when criminal charges are pressed, it could get very interesting very quickly. I think a lot more people will come forward to offer more supporting information and evidence if the Columbus Police Department and District Attorney Conger make the next move to formally press charges. I have no idea where they are at with things but I am hopeful. If karma has any say, the desire for Janice & Michael to be arrested is extremely high. The whole idea of them going to jail absolutely thrills the victims and ex-employees.

From a public relations point of view, the D.A. and the Columbus Police Department would look like heroes. Whether or not the criminal case was won or not, they would generate a ton of goodwill and positive karma that sends a message that they cared and courageous enough to move forward even if it was not quite a slam-dunk case.

Janice Ligon was incarcerated for a lesser and smaller scam in 1993. If we manage to get her back in jail in 2008, she can celebrate her 15th anniversary from when she last entered jail. I think we should all help her revisit the GreyBar Hotel again. She has obviously forgotten the lessons that were supposed to be imparted on her. Let’s give her a refresher course in JailBird 101.

 

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