Is it a civil suit or a small claims court? fraud/scam?

I was introduced to a guy that was selling a car, my friend introduced me to him, he was a very nice guy, a person that when you see and talk to makes you feel like you can trust him. I downed 00 on the car. then later on he said he was strapped for cash and used the money for his kids private school and stuff already, and said the car needed new calipers because it was messed up, but I can just give him advance payment and subtract it from the cars total. anyways I believed him for over four months so far, something always messed up with the car that needs to be replaced, and i covered for it.
I trusted him and I feel like he has been deceiving me because I haven’t got anything from him since.
He possesses around 830 from me.
I have made him sign paper works, and kept receipts, text messages, emails while I stayed in contact with him.
I also have 2-3 witnesses.

What do I do if I want to file a lawsuit for at least the amount he owes me of about 000 that would be considered fraudulent.

Would I go to a small claims court? I would be representing myself, unless someone could recommend a lawyer who is affordable in Long Beach, CA. Thanks a lot!

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