A Stanislaus County criminal grand jury has indicted Dmitry Shubov, the founder of LegalMatch.com, who is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old Modesto girl.
Prosecutors allege that Shubov, 44, met the girl on seekingarrangment.com, a website that offers a venue for older men, “Sugar Daddies,” wanting to meet and pamper younger women, “Sugar Babies,” with “fine dinners, exotic trips and allowances,” according to the website. SeekingArrangement offers the same type of matchmaking services for older women and younger men.
Shubov, a former New York resident who now lives in the Bay Area, is accused of traveling to Modesto to have sex with the girl over two years. Prosecutors believe Shubov knew the girl was underage.
It’s baseless, as far as we’re concerned. We will be defending (Shubov’s innocence) vigorously. And we’re confident we’ll prevail, and the truth will come out.
Modesto Attorney Frank Carson
Frank Carson, Shubov’s attorney, said there’s no evidence supporting the prosecution’s allegations. He said he is filing a motion challenging the indictment in court.
“It’s baseless, as far as we’re concerned,” Carson said. “We will be defending (Shubov’s innocence) vigorously. And we’re confident we’ll prevail, and the truth will come out.”
The Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office declined to comment. John Goold, a spokesman for the office, said prosecutors cannot discuss details about pending cases.
Shubov has been indicted on 10 felony counts, including unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor younger than 16, oral copulation with a minor and sodomy. The girl is identified in filed court documents as “Jane Doe.”
Modesto police spokesman Heather Graves said investigators learned that Shubov and the girl met online on a website when she was 14 years old. She said the relationship between Shubov and the girl eventually became sexual. The girl’s family found out about the relationship and notified police.
Modesto police arrested Shubov in Modesto on April 21, when he was supposed to meet up with the girl again.
A criminal complaint filed May 15 indicates that the alleged sexual relationship began in mid-July 2015, when the girl was 14 years old, and continued through late March of this year. Two days after the complaint was filed, the criminal grand jury issued the indictment against Shubov, which supersedes the complaint and moves the case straight to trial without a preliminary hearing.
The trial, however, will not occur anytime soon and has not been scheduled. Shubov is scheduled to return to court Nov. 30 for a law and motion hearing.
A transcript of the criminal grand jury proceedings remains sealed. The grand jury proceedings are held behind closed doors without the defendant or his attorney and is not open to the public.
A Stanislaus Superior Court judge on May 22 increased Shubov’s bail from $50,000 to $200,000 and ordered the defendant to hand over his passport. Shubov remains free on bail.
“SeekingArrangement is a website intended for adults age 18 and older,” said Alexis Germany, a spokeswoman for the website. “Similar to other sites that require users to be a certain age upon joining, a new user is asked to supply their age.”
Germany said each new user is verified by the website’s in-house support team. If the support team suspects that a profile belongs to an underage user. or if the member is reported as being underage by another user, the user’s account is suspended. She said the user then must supply a copy of a government-issued identification that matches the person listed in the user profile.
Shubov founded legalmatch.com, a website to “help individuals and small businesses make educated decisions when choosing a lawyer,” according to the website. Shubov in 2004 pleaded guilty to retrieving and deleting voice mails of a rival website, according to a 2006 article from Forbes.
LegalMatch had sued the rival website, accusing it of recruiting and poaching LegalMatch’s sales staff. Shubov was sentenced to two years’ probation and a $5,000 fine. He was disbarred in New York in October 2005, and he gave up the title of LegalMatch’s chief, Forbes reported.
On Shubov’s LinkedIn page, he identifies himself as the founder and CEO since 2015 of a company called Adzoco. A Facebook page for Adzoco indicates the company turns “unused private property into viral advertising displays,” connecting these property owners with businesses. An online link to Adzoco’s website sends users to LegalMatch’s website.