Sara King, the self-described “slot whisperer” was last seen days ago as she slipped onto the casino floor at the Wynn Las Vegas, wearing yoga pants and a hoodie instead of her usual head-to-toe Dior; a baseball cap was pushed low over her face and the rest was covered with a face mask. She was anybody, nobody, and unrecognizable—until one of the dozens of eyes in the sky overhead caught her moving toward a favorite slot machine and her captured image triggered the casino’s sophisticated facial recognition software.
Before King could settle in for the night in front of her one-armed friend, the 39-year-old Newport Beach lawyer was flanked by Wynn security and escorted from the premises. Michael Weaver, a spokesperson for Wynn Resorts told LA Mag that the casino has “trespassed Ms. King from the premises,” meaning that if Newport Beach lawyer returns again for any reason, “she will be subject to immediate arrest.”
The threat of arrest is a stunning reversal from the red-carpet treatment King received from Wynn’s management when she spent six months in 2022 living as a high-roller in its most exclusive comped suite: a villa offered only to guests whose daily gambling totals tip over the $300,000 threshold.
Those glorious months were dizzying, Sara’s husband, one-time West Hollywood restaurateur Kamran Pahlavi, tells LAMag. The dashing grandson of Iranian Princess Ashrav Pahlavi, he and King spent the glamorous period in Las Vegas gambling around the clock, dining gratis at the Wynn’s best restaurants, and attending free concerts and events, including a golf tournament where Sara cozied up to NFL quarterbacks Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes.
While claiming to hit jackpot after jackpot, King was really, according to a civil lawsuit, siphoning money out of her company, King Family Lending, and using her investor’s cash to gamble. LA Mag has learned the FBI is now investigating the one-time “Super Lawyer” whose name has since been pulled by the prestigious publication.
Pahlavi enjoyed the perks of King’s lavish lifestyle at the Wynn – allegedly paid for with other people’s money – but claims to have very little to do with her business, other than introducing her to her biggest financier, Swiss banker Laurent Reiss, from Monaco, and keeping some of the King Family Lending books. Reiss, who was friends with Pahlavi for 35 years, invested with King through his British Virgin Islands-based company, LDR International Limited, after reviewing her purported collateral—Rolex watches, yachts and sports cars, and much more, then invested $195,000 secured with three expensive watches. For that, the bank received a cut of the company’s interest payments.
As King Lending made interest payments, LDR funded 97 loans, totaling $2,528,500, which was secured by emails and texted photos of the collateral—which King purportedly had in her possession: a Tiffany-stamped Patek watch; a Maybach 62; and a Mercedes G wagon; a Rolls Royce Ghost; and a selfie with an NHL player, who wanted to borrow a half-million from his future contracted earnings at 10 percent interest.
LDR even funded a loan he apparently believed was going to help Kim Kardashian’s “hair extension person,” expand her business. “She makes good money,” King wrote of the Kardashians’ hair guru. “I was her lawyer for a period of time and had access to her books.”
“I only got involved in this lending business because it was getting too big for Sara to handle alone and because my friend asked me to help her be more organized. So I decided to take care of the back office of the business,” Pahlavi said from Morocco, where he fled in November when his wife’s scheme began to unravel. Before that, he believed that her wild spending and gambling sprees were being funded by her wins at the casino.
“She was winning all the time, saying she is the ‘slot machine whisperer’ and that she cracked the code of these machines. She even had her strategy written on a piece of paper,” Pahlavi said.
King became friendly with all the hosts and the high-limit room employees, who would introduce her to wealthy potential clients. “None of the employees from the high limit room, not her host, with whom I thought I was close to, ever told me she was losing a dime. They said there were ups and downs but she was winning in total.”
Win or lose at the tables, Vegas was still the perfect place to find new “investors” who would soon become victims.
A Loyola Law School graduate who was admitted to the California State Bar in 2014, King did a stint working in commercial real estate in Costa Mesa, where she opened the hard money loan business advertised online as a “one-stop-shop lending platform” providing luxury lending, entertainment contracts loans, and was referred to as an “invoice factory.” Essentially this business operated as a licensed luxury pawn shop—where often dicey clients could offer up collateral, jewelry, luxury cars, or any pricey merchandise, to access cash quickly (at a higher rate than traditional loans, of course).
To fund the loans, King first turned to her parents, who owned an Orange County insurance company, and her friends, before LDR began backing her last January.
Less than a year later, Reiss began to suspect King was running a scam after he noticed typos on bank statements. He traveled to California to survey the collateral and found that the photos had been staged, the bank statements doctored. King was broke and his money was gone.
In February, Beverly Hills Attorney Ronald Richards filed a civil suit on LDR’s behalf accusing King of using its money to “fund a lavish lifestyle and gambling in Las Vegas.” She will be in default of the civil suit for not responding to the service within 21 days on March 8,
When Pahlavi learned his wife had “scammed so many people,” he left the country and filed for divorce. “My whole life crumbled, he said. “I had been living with a female version of Madoff all these years.”
Sara King’s other alleged victims include a cocktail waitress at the Wynn, who had saved $5,000— “a year’s worth of tip money”—and entrusted it to King to invest it on her behalf. A Pasadena couple, a surgeon and her husband, who asked that their names be withheld, befriended Pahlavi and King at the Wynn and became close before they lost their life savings, more than $430,000. King’s parents were evicted and now live with her younger sister, also a lawyer. Even her best friend was scammed out of $10,000
“What we all have in common is that we trusted Sara. She was a lawyer,” says the LA surgeon.
Sara King is now being called “Orange County’s own Anna Delvey,” the con woman who scammed the New York elite into believing she was a German heiress, by a woman who once looked up to her as “a big sister.”
“Sara loved money. The best things, Louis Vuitton, Dior, always luxury, people with high status,” says Yumiko Sturdivant, who met King more than a decade ago when she was starting out as an attorney. “She’s sick. She has no soul.”
Like Delvey, who preyed on her supposed intimates, King’s fraud relied on trust and connections. The Wynn threw a 38th birthday party for King, a champagne and caviar affair worthy of a princess who shopped like one. She was such a regular at luxury stores, Chanel comped a birthday cake shaped like a handbag. Dior sent cupcakes. When King confided in the surgeon that her father was diagnosed with cancer, the surgeon pulled strings to help him find the best oncologists.
“She was over the moon grateful, told me over and over she loved me,” she said.
When Pahlavi and King were having problems, the surgeon and her husband invited them over and would counsel them for hours. It was after that King made her pitch, the one that starts with “I normally don’t open up deals to people who aren’t billionaires,” and convinced the couple to invest their life savings. They were nervous, they told LAMag, until a month later when she wired them a 10 percent return – and urged a reinvestment. They did, and soon King began to blow them off and even submitted a forged wire transfer to buy time.
“She got very shady with us,” she said. “It was lie, after lie, after lie.”
In November, the fleeced couple and others, went to the casino’s security to explain how King was scamming its guests, a member of its staff, and likely recruiting other unsuspecting victims on their floor. This was the moment when Wynn security escorted King out of her villa, banned her from entering the resort, and called the FBI. They are cooperating with a federal investigation.
Even after that humiliation of being booted from the Wynn villa, King was soon spotted gambling across the street at the luxe new Resorts World and popped up at other casinos until she wore a disguise to try to sneak into the Wynn in late February. It remains unclear how Wynn’s hosts allowed King to gamble so much money without asking her to explain how she acquired it, which is required by federal law under what is known as Title 31, part of the Bank Secrecy Act designed to prevent money laundering through casinos that could fund crime and terrorism. The casino’s spokesman insists “Wynn Las Vegas complied with federal law, including Title 31, with respect to Ms. King, who has been banned from all gaming at the property.”
Richards’ lawsuit states King “moved into the Wynn Las Vegas resort and hotel, lived there for six months, and gambled 24/7.” She also led “an extravagant lifestyle,” using funds belonging to his client and other unsuspecting victims who believed they were investing in a licensed company run by a respected attorney.
No one knows where King is living now. The California State Bar has been notified of her purported thievery and launched an investigation. Her business license to lend money was revoked, and she has been evicted from the West Hollywood apartment where she has been served with more than one civil suit. King’s victims are speaking with the FBI and Richards has referred his client’s case for criminal federal prosecution.
The so–called slot whisper is still sneaking around the Strip, now with a new look. And few friends. Even her first husband, Gerar Jamal, who divorced King in 2018 after a four-year marriage, applied for a domestic violence restraining order against King in late 2020, citing a history of stalking, threats, and racist rants, in court documents. In one text message in Dec. 2020 sent after Jamal filed for the restraining order, King wrote: “Your dumb ass hooker girl now just wants what she saw I had,” with a slew of other offensive expletives about her ex’s unborn child.
“She is extremely dangerous,” Pahlavi said. “Especially now that she is against the wall.”
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