Based upon what you have written you could consider going to small claims court in an attempt to recover the money or you could consider seeking out free or discounted attorney service and/or legal aide. In reference to the first option, small claims court, in order to determine whether it would be worth going to small claims court, you would need to determine how much the complete filing fees would be in your state for you to file a claim in small claims court and compare the filing fees to the amount of money you are trying to recover. Here is a link that I give to my clients who are dealing with similar situations, the link will provide you with additional information about small claims court, click here:
I suggest the following steps in reference to the second option I suggested which involves seeking out discounted or free attorney service and/or legal aide:
1. Check your phone book or the internet for phone numbers for "legal aide" in the city and state where you live. Legal aide is usually offered at a reduced fee and/or pro bono contingent upon your income.
2. Using the internet type the words "lawyer referral system"- (which usually offers reduced rates for meeting with a lawyer) followed by your city and state to get a listing of possible attorneys participating in this.
3. Using the internet type in "pro bono lawyers" followed by your city and state for additional options; most pro bono and free services are income contingent and requirements usually varies for each agency.
4. Some law schools also offer various hours where anyone can call in and speak to a law student and ask their questions. So check for the reputable law colleges and universities and call to inquire about this directly to the law school.