SACRAMENTO (CN) - Fraudsters calling themselves Spiritual Alliances and Public Minister charged a Russian speaker $1,500 for "legal help" with his mortgage - then had him sign over his house to them, the man claims in court.
Stepan A. Gushtyuk sued Spiritual Alliances Corporation Sole, Public Minister, Alvin Tobias, and Marcia Ann Willardson, in Superior Court.
Gushtyuk, who is not fluent in English, claims he went to Spiritual Alliances in Roseville, seeking help on the mortgage for his Citrus Heights home in August 2010. He says he paid $1,500 for the consulting service and met with defendant Tobias.
The complaint states: "Because plaintiff does not speak fluent English, he was assisted by [nonparty] Eleonara Beljaeva who worked in the office. Ms. Beljaeva provided Russian translation services so plaintiff and defendant Alvin Tobias could communicate. Plaintiff was told to sign some documents that were put in front of him. Plaintiff believed the documents he was signing were necessary for defendant Alvin Tobias and defendant Spiritual Alliances to provide him with legal representation. However, the document he signed that day was a document assigning the property to defendant Spiritual Alliances Corporation Sole and defendant Marcia Ann Willardson, Public Minister.
"Plaintiff did not realize that he assigned his property to defendant Spiritual Alliances Corporation Sole and defendant Marcia Ann Willardson, Public Minister, until he was attempting to obtain a loan modification on his house in May 2012.
"On or about May 18, 2012, plaintiff returned to defendant Spiritual Alliances Corporation Sole place of business in Roseville, California to inquire about the assignment of the deed he signed on or about August 23, 2010. Plaintiff met with defendant Alvin Tobias and was told by defendant Alvin Tobias that he 'had no idea what Spiritual Alliances was.'
"The basis of plaintiff's complaint is the sequence of events described above. Plaintiff was essentially duped and defrauded into signing an assignment of his property to defendant Spiritual Alliances Corporation Sole and defendant Marcia Ann Willardson, Public Minister, when he believed he was signing documents necessary for legal representation on the property."
It is unclear from the complaint whether Public Minister is a legal entity or a title Willardson has assumed. Nor is it clear what a public minister is or is meant to be.
Gushtyuk seeks quiet title and punitive damages for fraud.
He is represented by Julia M. Young of Roseville.