Need Funds to Start Anew

Michael J. Smith, the on air announcer for the Los Angeles Clippers, defrauded us out of our life savings. On the advice of a business associate who was also was a lifelong friend of Mr. Smith, we loaned Mr. Smith a substantial sum of money for a real estate project he was promoting. His real estate development project turned out to be a fraud and by failing to repay the loan, Mr. Smith simultaneously took not only our life savings but also our means of income away. We lost our home, car and had to sell many of our possessions. The money lost was earmarked for a business that would have created an adequate income for our family's needs. We have not had medical or dental care in more than four years. While we work full time on an internet business, the income is erratic and we have fallen behind on all of our bills.

We sued Mr. Smith and won judgments in two different legal cases, but he has refused to pay us a single cent. The original judgment is case 56-2[phone redacted]7501-CU-BC-SIM and can be searched on the Ventura County Superior Court website. He continues to live in a two million dollar home and collect a large salary from the Clippers as we face the likelihood of becoming homeless in the very near future as we are behind on our rent and due to our destroyed credit cannot find anyone to rent to us.

The before and after above photo is of our daughter Katherine, who we adopted from Russia when she was 5 years old. We promised her a better life than she would experience as an orphan in Russia. Mr. Smith has made us unable to keep that promise. Katherine and our other children deserve better.

The money we raise here will be used for the following: Both of our children need to go to the dentist (Jeffrey has had a toothache off and on for the past year), both children would like a pair of new shoes and a few new items of clothing as we have not purchased any for them since this began, rather relying on the generosity of friends and neighbors for their hand me downs. Both adults have some serious medical/dental issues that need to be addressed. We will also pay our back rent to prevent eviction proceedings, pay the back utility bills to avoid the impending termination of services and make much needed repairs to our only car. If we can exceed our goal, we want to begin to pay back those many generous people who have helped us in the last few years.

The Wishlist:

If anyone donates to our wishlist, along with our thanks, I will provide proof that the money was used for that purpose. I want you to have confidence that your money is being used for the purpose you intended.

Here is Melora's telling of our plight in story form:

Once upon a time there was a Nice Family. 

This is a story about the Nice Family and Michael J. Smith, the on air announcer for the Los Angeles Clippers who wasn't very Nice.

Once upon a time there was a nice family who had a nice life.
Bills were paid, food was on the table and there was a working car in the garage.

It wasn't a lot but it was enough.

One day a man came to the nice father of the nice family and told him about a way that he could make his nice family richer and more secure than it was.

All the nice father had to do was give the man a lot of money so the man could invest it in a real estate project he owned and the man would give the nice father the money back plus interest.

The nice father said that the only money he had was his life savings and he was planning on using that to start a business.

The man said "NO worries" he would only keep the money for 2 years and he would pay back every cent and interest plus a bonus on top of it. The nice father would have even more money than he hoped for to start his own business.

The nice father trusted the man because the man was somewhat of a celebrity in the sports world and had a lot of his own money so there wasn't any reason to think the man was lying.

So the nice father took all the money he had saved and gave it to the man who promised it was in safe hands.

A year went by and the man kept his promise and gave the nice father an interest payment every month and life seemed good.

But one month in the second year a check did not arrive. So the nice father called the man and asked about its absence and the man said it was just an oversight and not to worry.

The next month a check did not arrive again. The nice father called again and this time could not get in touch with the man.

When the third month came and went and there was no check again, the nice father did not feel so nice anymore.

When he started investigating, he found out the man not only never intended on paying him back, but the real estate project the man claimed to have owned was a lie. All the "official" paperwork the man had showed the nice father claiming that he owned the property and what he was going to do with the money were all fake.

It turned out the man had done this to many people, that the nice father was not the only one who was fooled. There were many who had gotten fooled as well. 

The nice father realized that he was in a very bad position. Without the monthly checks the mortgage, bills and food costs for the nice family could not be paid. And without getting back the large sum of money he had lent out, a business could not be bought.

Over the next year the nice father tried to get the man to pay back any part of the money he had taken. But the man refused. Even when the nice father sued him and won a judgement of fraud against him, the man refused to give back one single cent.

In the several years that this was taking, the nice father had to sell the nice family's house at a huge loss and sell any possession that had any value including a car so that the nice family could eat and keep a roof over their head while they were fighting for their money back.

It has now been 4 years and even though the nice father is still working hard to recover the money, life for the nice family has not been very nice. Without the large sum of money there was no way to start the planned business.

They are behind on rent, in danger of having utilities turned off and have not been able to provide needed medical and dental care for the children or adults. 

While all this is happening to the nice family, the man continues to live in his 2 million dollar house, continues to receive a very large paycheck from the company he works for and completely disregard the pain and suffering he has caused.

The nice father would like to be able to help his nice family be able to hang in there a little bit longer until at least a small portion of the money gets recovered and the nice family can start over from the beginning and make a nice life again.

  • Jake Holland 
    • $50 
    • 80 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 81 mos
  • Jake H 
    • $75 
    • 81 mos
  • Jörg Hillebrand 
    • $50 
    • 84 mos
  • Phillip 
    • $50 (Offline)
    • 84 mos
See all


Jeff Zucker 
Thousand Oaks, CA
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