Originally Posted by Frank I
from what I know of class action and I am not an attorney you need three people and the only one who usually benefits is the layers. If Mikhail is in the US then he commited mail and wire fraud and the Federal DA in the state where he is located would press charges and seek an indictment. You also can file and swear out a complaint and have him arrested. If he is not residing in the states then really nothing you can do.
Those evil lawyers.
Based on pure speculation, my gut says you won't have big litigation costs. In order to get those, the other side has to actively defend a lawsuit. If the person sued doesn't have the money for that, you'll end up with a default or a quick judgment.
Unfortunately, getting a judgment is the (relatively) easy part. Collecting a judgment is something else entirely.
You'll have to give up a percentage, but you can assign a judgment to a hyper-aggressive collection agency. Depending on state law, the collection agent can garnish bank accounts, seize property, haul people in for judgment debtor exams, and much else. Like I said, you'll have to give up a percentage, but an aggressive collector with a judgment can make someone's life pure hell. Especially the judgment debtor exams - those are particularly unpleasant.
This can cause someone to file bankruptcy, which is an issue. However, bankruptcy means that assets are turned over to the Court during the proceedings. Also, a bankruptcy hearing would give you all an opportunity to show up and confront Mikhail.
This isn't legal advice. You need to contact a lawyer and get the process moving.