Newport Beach attorney Sara King is accused of using $10.2 million intended for borrowers to finance her lavish Las Vegas lifestyle (Image via U.S. District Court lawsuit)
A Newport Beach attorney who allegedly scammed a lender out of $10.2 million in 2022 to fund a six-month stay at a swanky Las Vegas resort where she frequented casinos around-the-clock now claims her husband pressured her to gamble millions in an effort to win enough to repay the loans.
Sara Jacqueline King, 39, who operates King Family Lending and is a partner of the King Reuben law firm, was sued in February by LDR International Limited, based in the British Virgin Islands, for breach of contract, fraud and theft.
LDR International allegedly extended 97 loans to King Lending for third-party borrowers from January to October 2022. The borrowers’ loans purportedly were secured by collateral that included luxury automobiles, boats, yachts, jewelry, watches, valuable coins, and earnings from guaranteed professional sports contracts.
However, in each instance, King allegedly provided LDR International with phony title documents, appraisals, photographs, and contracts, as well as proof of funding through cashier’s checks with the borrowers’ names redacted.
King spent the majority of loan funds on an extravagant lifestyle at the Wynn Las Vegas resort, where she lived for six months, and gambled “24/7,” according to LDR International. Ronald Richards, an attorney for the firm, estimated that King lost $6 million to $7 million.
She could not be reached for comment.
Husband made her do it
Earlier this week, King filed a counterclaim against her husband, Kamran Abbas-Vahid, a French citizen who lives in Morocco, accusing him of pressuring her to gamble the loan proceeds in an effort to recoup the money owed to LDR International.
“The cross-complaint is a rambling mess that is better for television than a federal district court,” Richards said in an email. “The complaint is meritless as there is no defense to misusing my client’s loan proceeds, lying about the loan’s collateral. The contention her husband forced her to gamble the loan proceeds away and lie about it is not a viable or legal defense.”
U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter ruled that the counterclaim is deficient because Abbas-Vahid is not a party to the LDR International lawsuit against King. Carter has ordered King to refile the counterclaim by Monday, April 3, explaining the basis for the court’s jurisdiction over Abbas-Vahid.
In January 2022, according to the counterclaim, Abbas-Vahid introduced King to Laurent Reiss, whom he has known for more than 30 years and is the owner of LDR International.
A deal allegedly was struck in which Reiss would receive 60% of profits while King would retain 40% from all third-party loans issued by King Family Lending. Subsequently, Reiss loaned King Family Lending $605,000 for three months, with an average interest rate of 72% per year, according to the counterclaim.
In February and March 2022, King Family Lending allegedly paid $104,600 to LDR International for the interest earned on the loans. Afterward, Reiss instructed King to retain the principal amount and all interest earned to fund additional loans, the counterclaim says.
Meanwhile, at Reiss’ insistence, Abbas-Vahid was charged with verifying the validity of loan deals, certifying collateral and assuming responsibility for all record-keeping and accounting, according to King, who balked at the arrangement.
King noted in the counterclaim that Abbas-Vahid did not work and had no money during their five-year relationship, adding she purchased two buildings in Long Beach valued at $5 million for his failed cannabis business.
“Abbas-Vahid gave up on all businesses when they got tough and instead of salvaging all the money King had invested, played golf and tennis daily while King worked,” the counterclaim states.
King alleges that in April and May 2022, her company defaulted on LDR International loans when an individual stole collateral that included a 2021 Mercedes Benz G Wagon, a boat and an expensive watch.
King said Abbas-Vahid warned her not to tell Reiss about the stolen collateral and persuaded her to play the slots in Las Vegas to win back the money lost in the defaulted loan deals.
King was in love with Abbas-Vahid and was worried he would leave her if she did not cooperate, according to the counterclaim. King alleges Abbas-Vahid accompanied her as she played in the high-limit slot room at the Wynn Las Vegas and would collect her winnings whenever she hit a large jackpot.
When Abbas-Vahid saw how much King could win by gambling, he threatened to leave her and vowed to alert Reiss about the loan defaults unless she bet larger amounts to win bigger jackpots, King alleges.
The counterclaim alleges that when King refused to acquiesce to Abbas-Vahid’s demands or did not give him money from her winnings, he would leave her alone in Las Vegas for days, only to return to seduce her and make outrageous requests.
In one instance, Abbas-Vahid allegedly persuaded King to buy him a Tesla Model X valued at $120,000.
King also said in the counterclaim that she soon realized her loan business could expand in Las Vegas, prompting her to have meetings at multiple casinos with high rollers targeted as potential borrowers.
King sent LDR International a photo of herself with NFL quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen on a Las Vegas golf course in June 2022 to demonstrate her connection to high-profile athletes, according to court documents.
Even as King attempted to grow her business, her relationship with Abbas-Vahid remained volatile.
King recalled in the complaint that while she was on a flight from New York to Los Angeles, Abbas-Vahid contacted the concierge at their apartment to allow someone to enter the unit and take watches, jewelry, electric bicycles and golf clubs, either belonging to her or in the custody of King Family Lending.
In November 2022, King alleges that she realized Abbas-Vahid had manipulated her to obtain a green card, prompting her to tell his immigration attorney in an email that she would not sponsor his U.S. citizenship application.
Eventually, Abbas-Vahid made good on his promise to throw King “under the bus” and told Reiss that she was to blame for all of King Family Lending’s financial losses, according to the counterclaim. King said Abbas-Vahid then fled to Morocco, noting the country doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the United States.
She is seeking at least $75,000 in damages from her husband.