SANTA ANA, California – A Newport Beach lawyer who claimed she was providing loans to the rich and famous has agreed to plead guilty to federal felony charges for using her investors’ money to fund her lavish lifestyle, causing them to lose more than $8 million, the Justice Department announced today.
Sara Jacqueline King, 39, is charged in a two-count information with wire fraud and money laundering. Both the information and a related plea agreement were filed late Monday in United States District Court in Santa Ana.
King is expected to make her initial court appearance on June 20.
According to her plea agreement, King operated King Family Lending LLC, a Newport Beach-based company that purportedly gave short-term, high-interest loans to professional athletes, celebrities and other high-net-worth individuals. The loans supposedly were secured by the borrowers’ own assets, including designer handbags, watches, luxury automobiles, yachts and earnings from guaranteed sports contracts.
From January 2022 until January 2023, King – through her company – recruited investors to purportedly fund her business’s loans. She admitted to telling investors that their investments were secured by the same collateral as the loans themselves. King promised she would retain possession of the collateral and that, in the event a borrower defaulted, she would sell the collateral to pay the investor in full.
King said she would keep a percentage of the interest earned from the loans and that she would pass along a percentage of the interest to victim-investors, along with their initial investment.
In reality, during this time period, King never initiated or funded any loan. Instead, she used victims’ funds to gamble at Las Vegas casinos and support her lavish lifestyle.
King admitted to causing five investors to lose more than $8 million. She has agreed that the applicable restitution amount in this case is at least $8,785,045.
She further admitted to withdrawing approximately $132,156 of investor money from King Family Lending’s bank account to purchase a Porsche Taycan electric sports car.
The FBI and the IRS Criminal Investigation are investigating this matter.
Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer L. Waier of the Santa Ana Branch Office is prosecuting this case.