From Paradise to Hell – and Back
I have avoided dredging up this story for a long time, because it’s not just one story. It is several stories intertwined into one long, drawn-out and unnecessary pile of shit due to horrible people I met, an inefficient legal system, and poor decisions. It was the worst time of my life, and it lasted about a year or so.
About 15 years ago, I lived in a really nice place on the water in Paradise and gave it up for a dream job. I’d been offered a position writing for a production company, which was a chance I never thought I’d have in this lifetime. Another fellow writer, who was a reliable source, had started working with the company told me about the job. In a nutshell, after a lot of runaround, the job never started, and my friend never got paid for the work he did. I had no financial or legal recourse, as I hadn’t signed any contracts. This was probably the first time in my life that I needed to begin questioning jobs; I hadn’t ever dealt with that where I came from. It was also the beginning of a string of jobs that turned out to be scams, employers not paying, or some other really fucked up thing that people do to employees.
And so I moved on…
I was stuck 2600 miles away from Paradise, in Hell with virtually no income. I did manage to pick up some really cool gigs intermittently, but everything was too inconsistent and unstable for me. The only thing that was going for me was a nice place to live and a great school for my child, and I was completely and naively open to most any opportunities. I ended up working a couple of jobs that failed to pay employees (work was usually 1099), and everywhere I turned, it was a huge, tiring struggle. During that time, someone I cared a lot about did some really awful things to me, and someone else I considered my best friend had basically abandoned me once I left town. Little did I know that this was also the beginning of my father’s abandonment, as well. Depression and anxiety were at a peak, as I was still mourning the loss of my beloved grandfather from a few months prior.
Constantly looking for work, I ran across an ad that sounded like it might be another dream come true, and at the time I was pretty desperate; not to mention, I was kind of a gullible small town girl in Hell. Due to legal reasons, I cannot get into too much detail, but this other “dream come true” was the beginning of the real road to Hell, and one that I couldn’t veer off no matter how hard I tried. I was scammed – big time.
The scammers made a habit of abusing the court system, creating illegal and false documents, and overall being an early internet and legal menace, because that’s just how they operated. I happened to be one of their several targets for calling them out on one of their scams and reporting it to authorities; however, everyone was told it was all a civil matter. It wasn’t until things became really bad did I realize I was dealing with people with serious mental problems with zero accountability for their actions whatsoever. Total sociopaths, and most likely, substance abuse issues.
In a nutshell, these people not only made my life living hell, but anyone that came into their paths that disagreed with them. They were constantly tied up in lawsuits for one reason or another, and they’d purposely file bogus lawsuits on people out of state with the intention that the parties wouldn’t respond or show up to court because of the distance. This way, the scammers would win by default, then legally file a judgment or lien against the person in order to attempt to force them to pay. This is one of the ways they made a living.
These scammers created pages and pages of rambling, defamatory garbage on the internet of everyone that outed them for their shady dealings, and no matter how hard we tried, none of it could be taken down. There were no laws of the internet at the time, so they got away with things they’d never be able to do now. It was truly a nightmare for anyone on the other side of these ruthless people. They wasted seven years of my life and several thousand dollars in legal fees with that bullshit, not to mention the amount of stress it caused in my life – and later, my marriage. They were relentlessly acting out vengeance against us all in any way they could. Ruining people financially was their specialty, as most of us were in other states! They’d hired people to follow and photograph some of us and posted them in an online nonsensical rant. They even made a fake page about my husband (this lawsuit went on for several years), even though he had nothing at all to do with any of it. My attorney did nothing. When it was time to pay their own attorney, they made a page ranting about him and stiffed him on the bill.
Things really got bad in my marriage when the scammers gave my address out to a convicted child sex offender that tracked me down and had me privately served, threatening to sue me if I didn’t remove a blog post about him. I had been a writer for a crime blog that I’d spent endless hours doing research with links to articles, etc., and this guy was convicted of molesting a 14-year-old girl. On an entirely different blog, this pedophile was pedaling weed drinks that looked suspiciously like they were aimed at children. I’d naively used my real name in a comment, and it linked to the post I’d written about this pedophile.
My husband was pissed off at me and completely unsupportive about the situation, and blamed me for having the blog. Except for the online supporters of the blog (I was often thanked by victim’s families and potential victims), I had zero support behind me. Otherwise, I’d have stood up for myself like I normally do in life. Eventually, I gave up the entire crime blog and all of the work I’d done, because I was that scared for my safety, concerned that my address was suddenly available to a bunch of convicts. I felt trapped, because no matter what I did to try to help and/or warn other people, it made me a target. Subsequently, the pedophile was arrested in Colorado shortly after for failing to register as a sex offender. It appears he is still involved in crime, as someone else has made a blog about him robbing people in Mexico. I would link everything right here if I wasn’t still concerned about my identity and safety, not to mention stupid fucking lawsuits.
Now back to 15 years ago again… If you have ever had someone follow you, it’s an extremely uncomfortable and frightening feeling. Just prior to moving to Hell, I had been mugged at night in Paradise, so I was always looking behind me. A few months later, I was followed in broad daylight in a parking garage in Hell, but managed to run to safety because of my awareness. So when the scammers started posting photos of us, it confirmed we had been followed, and I had even pointed it out to my attorney, because I had a gut feeling. You just know when you’re being followed. My attorney did nothing.
At some point I became paranoid in general daily life, because I didn’t know what these jerks were capable of doing, and their cryptic messages on their websites were worrisome. They were clearly and blatantly stalking all of us, yet there were no consequences for their actions! It’s like those people that just skirt around the laws every so slightly and get away with terrible things – that’s what I was dealing with. Again, my attorney did nothing, even though he told me he did, but I wasn’t aware of that until years later when I was informed by someone that had worked for him and on my case. She said he had completely ripped me off and not performed most of what he’d claimed. By the time I found this out, he was already in another career field. Imagine finding out you were scammed by your own attorney out of all of the money that could have paid back student loans. (And now those loans have doubled with interest.)
I ended up moving back to Paradise, but Hell remained with me. Someone that I loved as a friend and maybe more broke a lot of promises and turned on me like a snake, then proceeded to stalk me to the point that I was issued a restraining order against him, and he wasn’t allowed within 500 feet of me, my home, place of employment, or child’s school. He’d posted an ad on an adult site with my photos, name, address, phone number and where I worked; the phone calls started immediately, and I contacted the website to take the ad down. I was scared for my life, and scared for my child’s safety more so, that some creepy asshole was going to show up to my house. Again, this was a time when there weren’t internet laws like today, so technically, he had not committed a crime! It wasn’t until he sent an email claiming he was going to cut my throat that I was able to obtain the restraining order.
In the meantime, I’d started a job that I actually liked. Within a few weeks, I was supposed to get my first raise, but a hurricane hit the area, devastating most of it, including the office where I worked. I was out of a job again, along with my car being and several sentimental items and photos being destroyed. Having no power for a few weeks, most people were having hurricane parties, which means a lot of alcohol. It was during this time that I remember drinking alone, and I was drinking straight vodka. I seriously fucking hated my life. I felt both helpless and hopeful, because I kept telling myself things will get better. But again, I had zero support and was on my own dealing with it in my head.
Eventually, life started getting back to normal with the hurricane issues getting fixed. I found a job, but I hated it. I finally replaced my car, and one night after work decided to go out with the girls and wound up with a DUI, which cost me my license for a year, a lot of money, and my dignity, even though I was never convicted. I felt lucky about the no conviction, because it would have cost me a lot more money. This happened just weeks before the scammers had served me with their bogus lawsuit, and they later used my mugshot to create false documents and websites about crimes I never committed. (Luckily, this never affected my jobs as far as I know, since I pass federal background checks.)
On my own as usual, I didn’t have anyone that I could count on. I needed a friend to talk to, and everyone that I had been there for was not there when I needed someone. (This is a recurring theme.) What was there for me to do besides stay home if I wasn’t out drinking with friends? Besides diving into my hobbies, I got onto a dating site and ended up meeting a couple of men that became my friends. One of those friends helped me out, which in turn led me to meet my now ex-husband. That’s when a new chapter of my life began.