Wow! What an absolute disaster, Penny. The disregard some people have for the way their actions affect other people, blows my mind. It is disgusting how these people can be so self-absorbed, greedy, dishonest and reckless. I am glad that you have Californian law on your side and thus will have some sort of legal recourse. Please let us know the outcome.
You are clearly an immensely capable, intelligent, hard working, honest women, and so there is no doubt that you will bounce back and find yourself in a position that far exceeds anything you could have imagined.
All the best!