Shield Foundation Shelter Shakedown
2008-11-16 at 12:09 pm · Filed under Vox Populi
Bob Hartzog of Glendale, Ariz. was roused out of his slumber by a ringing phone. It was the cops. According to the policeman, Hartzog’s wife Valentina charged he had forced her to have sex and threatened to kill her. The officer, stationed outside of Hartzog’s home, ordered him outside.
Opening his front door, Hartzog found himself looking down the barrels of five loaded guns. Uncomprehending, he thought it must be a joke.
As Mr. Hartzog was hauled away to the police station, he spotted his Ukrainian-born wife in a parked car with another woman. He would later learn her accomplice was Olga Chaikheeva, a Russian immigrant who runs an abuse shelter called the Shield Foundation, located in nearby Phoenix.
As a bewildered Hartzog waited to be booked on charges of aggravated assault, little did he suspect at that very moment his house was being stripped of everything that could be pawned off in the Black Market – his passport, wallet, jewelry, computer, printer, the title to his Mitsubishi, and more, all worth about $15,000.
Within hours Valentina withdrew $2,500 from his bank account. The Mitsubishi was sold to a company called Quick Fleet Auto, a fly-by-night operation owned by Artt Smasch. By interesting coincidence, Mr. Smasch was the paramour of Olga Chaikheeva.
During the ensuing months Hartzog “sweated bullets,” as he told me, worried he might end up doing time for a crime he never committed. But he passed the polygraph test with flying colors and Valentina’s story didn’t hold up. A year later the D.A. dropped the charges.
But Hartzog never got his purloined property back.
Five years ago CBS 60 Minutes ran a program called Russian Roulette. The segment chronicled Russian women who dupe unsuspecting Australian men into marrying them. The show featured one Ivan Duhs. Falsely accused and summarily evicted from his home, the wife cleaned out the house, right down to the light switches and toilet roll holders.
Marriage scams are also widespread in the United States, but with a novel twist.
One immigration official describes the ploy this way: “Beautiful young women…entice a poor, unsuspecting 40-50-year old into marrying them, and then methodically proceed to ruin his life: calling 911 to report a wife-beating…going to a domestic abuse shelter and systematically documenting every step.” That’s exactly what happened to Bob Hartzog.
Now back to Olga Chaikheeva and her Shield Foundation.
According to its website, the Shield Foundation offers one-stop shopping for Russian immigrants: assistance with low-income housing, food stamps, Green Card, and Social Security numbers. And for women who aren’t happy in their marriages, the group provides legal help to procure protection orders and divorce decrees: www.shieldfoundation.org/2_services.html .
But some say Olga’s well-meaning efforts go too far.
According to a complaint filed by the Arkansas Justice Center, the Shield Foundation is actually a “phony women’s abuse shelter.” Her Shield Foundation “intimidates the women to file an Order of Protection with the City and Municipal Courts against their husbands.” Then Ms. Chaikheeva “runs her well practiced drills on the husbands; tricking them into breaking the Orders, getting them arrested, making designs on their assets, etc.” And if the judge denies the petition, she will “take the wife to a different court and start over.” [www.ripoffreport.com/reports/0/264/RipOff0264095.htm ]
The Shield Foundation’s tax records raise more eyebrows. In 2006 a company called Advance Alliance Management – which is not listed in the phone book, by the way — donated a two bedroom residence so the Shield Foundation could establish its own shelter.
But according to my sources, the house had belonged to Olga’s previous husband. When things went sour, Olga fabricated charges of aggravated assault. That got her the house and landed her ex- in the slammer.
Olga Chaikheeva has ruined enough lives and reputations that a number of persons have banded together to expose her scams.
One such person is Yefim Toybin, who legally immigrated to the United States in 1992 and now is a teacher and wrestling coach at a local high school. Married for 29 years, he told me, “We came to the United States for liberty and justice.”
Reveling in his new-found American dream, Toybin formed a cultural organization to help Russian immigrants assimilate into Western society. But Olga tried to take control of the fledgling group. When he demurred, the woman threatened, “You will regret not cooperating with us.”
Toybin told me stories like Bob Hartzog’s are not uncommon. So why does he go to pains to expose the corruption of the Shield Foundation? “I don’t want this country to experience the same thing that happened in my former country,” Toybin explains. “I want to protect justice, potential victims, and the future of this nation.”
There goes another myth about Russian women. Wait until these guys hit Russia and get a real lesson on what is going on.