The level of deception that a Newport Beach lawyer allegedly stooped to in borrowing and lending is shocking, according to a plaintiff’s lawyer who sued her.
Update June 13, 2023: Sara Jacqueline King has been reported to agree to plead guilty to wire fraud and money laundering charges and faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison (source).
Update July 25, 2023: Sara Jacqueline King has pleaded guilty of defrauding investors of $8.7M and will be sentenced in early 2024 for wire fraud and money laundering (source).
Beverly Hills attorney Ronald Richards sued Sara Jacqueline King, who was operating King Family Lending, on behalf of LDR International Limited alleging fraud to the tune of more than $10 million.
“Most lawyers would never do this,” Richards said in an interview. “There was a lot of failures. She was paying her gambling proceeds from the business account. Why didn’t anybody even question that?”
The complaint was filed in the Central District of California Southern Division demanding treble damages, punitive damages, attorney fees, court costs and the return of the $10,258,500 plus interest.
“King Lending provided Plaintiff and its agent and representative, Laurent R. (“L.R.”), with false and fabricated loan documents between King Lending and the purported third-party borrowers, including “Secured Promissory Note,” with name and other identifying information of the third-party borrower redacted,” Richards wrote in his 28-page complaint.
Richards’ client also accuses King of civil theft and breach of contract and plans to submit a criminal referral this week.
“My client knew Sara King’s husband for 30 years from Europe,” he said. “That’s another reason why he trusted is the fact that his wife was a lawyer.”
King’s ex-husband, Kamran Pahlavi, is originally from Morocco while King graduated from Loyola Law School before securing a lending license and is the daughter of a stockbroker, according to media reports.
“Just because someone’s a lawyer doesn’t mean the person is reliable,” Richards told OrangeCountyLawyers.com. “People should do more investigation before they blindly trust somebody. This was a double whammy because Sara had a California finance license as well as a law license.”
There were 97 loans, according to the complaint, and King allegedly spent the money on gambling in Las Vegas and to fund an extravagant lifestyle, including lodging at the Wynn Las Vegas Resort and Hotel for six months.
“I got her to pay a little bit of it back but basically she wouldn’t show how the money was spent,” Richards said in an interview. “She was evasive, and we basically had to keep pushing her until we finally had to file.”
Although King had connections to high-profile athletes and showed off jewelry and cars in photos, the complaint includes evidence that she only had $11.98 in her bank account and warns that King is crossing state lines to engage in further frauds.
“As she got more desperate, she started stealing from close friends of hers by borrowing money without any real collateral,” Richards said. “It just got worse as time went on and then they discovered that the loan statements were bogus.”
King did not respond to requests for comment and the phone number to King Family Lending at Corporate Plaza in Newport Beach has been disconnected.
On April 19, 2022, the Commissioner of Financial Protection and Innovation, Clothilde “Cloey” Hewlett issued an order revoking King’s finance lender and broker license for failing to file an Annual Report pursuant to Financial Code section 22159.
“I really like to prosecute cases where lawyers are using their license to basically win people’s trust because one of the best mechanisms to get rid of bad lawyers is having a good lawyer do that,” Richards added. “Lawyers are very good at spotting misbehavior from other lawyers because they know how the game works.”
Photo filed with complaint.
Juliette Fairley covers legal topics for various publications including the Southern California Record, the Epoch Times and Pacer Monitor-News. Prior to discovering she had an ease and facility for law, Juliette lived in Orange County and Los Angeles where she pursued acting in television and film.