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‘Massive fraud’ by Newport Beach attorney included resort stays, ‘24/7’ gambling, suit claims

Newport Beach attorney Sara King
Newport Beach attorney Sara King is accused in a federal lawsuit of fabricating loan documents and stealing over $10 million in a fraud scheme.
(U.S. District Court for the Central District of California)
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A Newport Beach attorney who operated a short-term-loan business boasted about clients who put up luxury items for collateral like a gold Rolex, a 1979 Ferrari and a $25,000 Avengers comic book, according to court documents.

But a lawsuit filed in California federal court alleges her business was all part of a massive fraud.

Sara King falsified documents, stole more than $10.2 million in loans and gambled the money away in Las Vegas, according to the complaint filed by LDR International, a British Virgin Islands-based lender that provided her company with the funds she needed for her loans.

King, 39, is the owner of King Family Lending, which uses high-end collateral to secure loans. She’s licensed to practice law in California. An email to King seeking comment was not immediately answered.

But LDR International says King used the money it lent her company for personal expenses and to finance her lavish lifestyle.

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LDR International says in the lawsuit that King claimed third-party borrowers guaranteed their loans by putting up luxury cars, jewelry, watches, precious metal, antique coins, designer handbags, boats, yachts, and earnings from sports contracts as collateral.

LDR International says that, starting in January 2022, it extended 97 loans to King Family Lending totaling more than $10.2 million. In the company’s first loan, for nearly $200,000, Sara King claimed that the borrower had put up two rose gold Audemars Piguet watches and a Richard Mille titanium watch, the lawsuit said.

LDR says King sent promissory notes and loan documents to LDR agents that were fabricated. They included falsified title documents, appraisals and photographs with the names of the third-party borrowers redacted, according to the lawsuit.

Detailed emails that King shared with LDR included purported information about loan terms, rates and other information.

“This borrower has an urgent need to be funded tomorrow (today), Friday,” King wrote in one message, according to the complaint.

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She included information about a 2019 Porsche Panamera GTS and other high-value property, according to the lawsuit. LDR provided an itemized list of its loans and the luxury items that were supposedly put up as collateral. The company argued none of it was real, according to the complaint.

King Family Lending was previously licensed as a finance lender by the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, which regulates financial institutions, but that license expired in November 2020. The company reapplied for its license, but that status became inactive in April 2022.

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LDR says that its business relationship with King Family Lending continued until October 2022, but that King’s business “was not licensed during the majority of the time that it was a borrower.”

King Family Lending explained to LDR that its license was inactive because of an “administrative problem,” according to the lawsuit. More than $6 million in loan payments were supposedly made to King Family Lending by borrowers, and the money was “redeployed” to fund loans to other borrowers. But LDR alleges in its complaint that the payments and borrowers were fictitious.

Instead, King gambled the money away in Las Vegas and enjoyed an extravagant lifestyle, according to LDR. The company says King “moved into the Wynn Las Vegas resort and hotel, lived there for six months, and gambled 24/7.”

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Her ex-husband, Kamran Pahlavi, who is a grandson of the late Iranian Princess Ashraf Pahlavi, said King engaged in a massive fraud against LDR, according to the lawsuit. Pahlavi has since fled to Morocco, according to the complaint. According to court documents, Pahlavi filed for divorce in December.

Over the course of her professional relationship with LDR, King used images of herself with high-profile athletes as part of her fraud scheme, the lawsuit says. Photos include King posing with NFL quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes.

King also sent a screenshot of her bank account summary page to prove that she had only about $12, the lawsuit says.

“King claims she has spent all of the funds and has no money left to her name,” according to the complaint. “King also is crossing state lines to engage in further frauds.”

As recently as Feb. 9, King asked LDR for more money and continues to send it purported deals, which LDR alleges are fake, the lender says..

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