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Dhingra v. Belenkiy

United States District Court, N.D. California, Oakland Division

March 15, 2017

RAKESH DHINGRA, Plaintiff,
v.
ELIINA BELENKIY, Defendant.

          ORDER DISMISSING IFP COMPLAINT AND DENYING AS MOOT PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO ISSUE SUMMONS

          SAUNDRA BROWN ARMSTRONG Senior United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Rakesh Dhingra (“Dhingra”), proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis (“IFP”), brings the instant action against Defendant Eliina Belenkiy (“Belenkiy”), formerly Eliina Keitelman. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court hereby DISMISSES the complaint without prejudice.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. The Prior Criminal Action[1]

         In July 2000, Dhingra, who was then 40 years old, contacted a minor girl, Belenkiy, using the Internet-based America Online instant messenger (“IM”) service. Over the course of several days, Dhingra and the minor engaged in extensive IM conversations that included sexual topics. Belenkiy stated on multiple occasions that she was only 14 years old, and Dhingra repeatedly acknowledged the minor's stated age.

         Dhingra and Belenkiy arranged to meet at a local community college on July 10, 2000. During that in-person encounter, Dhingra engaged in sexual activity with the minor in his automobile. Belenkiy reported the incident to a teacher, and then, with the teacher's urging, to local law enforcement officials. Local law enforcement officials arrested Dhingra after covertly arranging a second meeting between him and the minor.[2] On July 14, 2000, local law enforcement officials contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigations (“FBI”), including Agent Charles Esposito, to further investigate the offense.

         The United States obtained an indictment against Dhingra for one count of using the internet to solicit sexual activity from a minor, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b). Case No. 01-cr-40144-SBA, Dkt. 1 (hereafter, “Criminal Action”). A jury found Dhingra guilty of that offense, and the Court imposed a sentence of 24 months in custody and three years of supervised release. Id., Dkt. 72, 86. Upon Dhingra's appeal, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the judgment. Id., Dkt. 115.

         B. The Prior Civil Action

         In July 2016, Dhingra filed suit against the United States. Case No. 16-cv-03803-SBA (hereafter, “Prior Civil Action”). In a single pleading, he brought both a civil complaint for damages and a petition for writ of error coram nobis. Pet. & Compl., Dkt. 1.

         In the Prior Civil Action, Dhingra alleged that the “purported minor” victim of his criminal offense-Belenkiy-was actually an adult and an “undercover FBI Agent/Informer.” Id. ¶ 8. He alleged that FBI Agent Chuck Esposito “sent a baby faced adult” to meet him on July 10, 2000, as part of a “cyber squad operation . . . to catch persons who had been actively looking for illegal sexual conduct with minors.” Id. ¶¶ 5, 12. Dhingra further alleged that the FBI changed this agent's “identity to a minor under the witness protection program in order to make a false arrest, falsely prosecute and falsely convict and imprison [him].” Id. ¶ 13. According to Dhingra, the FBI also confiscated his computer on the pretext of a lawful arrest; fabricated evidence against him regarding this “fictitious minor”; comitted perjury by presenting this fiction to the jury at his trial; and “caus[ed] libel, slander, and severe emotional distress” as a result of his false prosecution and conviction. Id. ¶¶ 18, 22, 30-31, 36-37, 39.

         Based on the foregoing, Dhingra alleged causes of action for: (1) False Arrest and False Imprisonment on a Fictitious Federal Indictment; (2) Conspiracy with Local Law Authorities for False Arrest of Plaintiff on Fictitious Probable Cause; (3) Unlawful Confiscation of Plaintiff's Personal Property; (4) Deceit by Fabrication of Evidence in the Federal Court and Lying to the Jury; (5) Fraud by Obstruction of Justice and Perjury in a Federal Court; (6) Defamation, Libel and Slander; and (7) Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress. Dhingra also moved to vacate his criminal conviction by way of a petition for writ of error coram nobis. He prayed for compensatory damages in excess of $35 million, punitive and exemplary damages, and an order overturning his criminal conviction, among other things.

         On September 27, 2016, the Court issued an order dismissing the Prior Civil Action and denying as moot Dhingra's application to proceed IFP. Dkt. 6. On October 14, 2016, Dhingra filed a motion for reconsideration, Dkt. 7, which the Court promptly denied, Dkt. 8. On November 28, 2016, Dhingra filed a notice of appeal. Dkt. 9. That appeal is pending before the Ninth Circuit. Case No. 16-17198.

         C. The Instant Action

         On November 28, 2016, Dhingra filed the instant action against Belenkiy. Compl., Dkt. 1. Dhingra's allegations are nearly identical to those set forth in the Prior Civil Action. Specifically, Dhingra alleges that FBI Agent Chuck Esposito was running a “cyber squad operation” and “using FBI Agent/Informer . . . Eliina Belenkiy, an adult with baby faced appearance as bait to catch person who had been actively looking for illegal sexual contact with minors.” Id. ¶ 5. Dhingra further alleges that the “adult person pretending to be a minor . . . had a changed identify under FBI witness protection program claiming to be almost 15 years old as per FBI report . . . .” Id. ¶ 10. According to Dhingra, the FBI “changed [Belenkiy's] identity to a minor under the witness protection program in order to make a false arrest, falsely prosecute and falsely convict and imprison [him].” Id. ΒΆ 13. Dhingra further alleges that Belenkiy fabricated evidence against him regarding this ...


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