Hi Penny, I’m so sorry to hear about your predicament. I think you probably should consider consult legal advice and take the appropriate actions, at least get back the money you deserve and right the wrong. I’m even surprised that the company is still around at the time of this writing and the CEO haven’t gone to jail yet.
But the most important thing is don’t give up on Silicon Valley, startups, opportunities, good people, and life, just like you said. There are many great opportunities in the bay area, and I’m sure with the experience you got from this, you will be much prepared when pursuing your next dream job.
All the best.