The California lawyer accused of siphoning $10 million from a business partner and gambling it away in Las Vegas is blaming someone else for her alleged scheme: Her soon-to-be ex-husband Kamran Pahlavi, a descendent of Iranian royalty.
Last month, a British Virgin Islands company sued Sara King, claiming she used its investment in her short-term loan business to “fund an extravagant lifestyle,” one that included swanky stays at the Wynn, travel by private jet, and designer clothing.
After the suit was filed, friends told The Daily Beast that King stole thousands from them and Pahlavi came forward to say King conned him, too. Last year, he introduced King to Swiss banker Laurent Reiss, who invested millions in her loan outlet, King Family Lending (KFL), and whose firm LDR International Limited is suing her in federal court.
But on Tuesday, King filed court papers denying the accusations and pointed the finger at Pahlavi, alleging in a cross complaint that he forced her to gamble so that they could repay Reiss when an unnamed person stole their collateral.
In the puzzling document, King portrays Pahlavi as a slot-machine svengali, one who goaded her into gambling so they could win money to cover some of their defaulted loans. Her court filing also scorns him as thrice-married and accuses him of stealing money from her in order to pay the living expenses of his exes, his children, and his dog.
The Orange County attorney, who is representing herself in court, claims Pahlavi was also living the high life in Vegas and “spent the majority of his time shopping and getting massages and facials, and began failing at keeping up the back office of KFL.”
While King has yet to comment publicly on the accusations that became tabloid fodder last month, the 39-year-old pulls no punches in the document. In her cross complaint, she refers to Pahlavi by his apparent birth name, Kamran Abbas-Vahid.
“Vahid began seeing how much King could win,” King’s complaint says, adding that he persuaded her to “bet larger amounts to win bigger jackpots on the slot machines.”
“When King denied Vahid’s demands, or did not give him the money from any winnings, Vahid would start fights with King … and leave King alone in Las Vegas and come back days later, apologizing and would seduce and intimidate King to use funds from KFL to use to play slot machines so that Vahid could collect the cash.
“Are you on your way to Vegas? I am going to have a [heart] attack.”
“King began to stress about wins and losses, continually playing under Vahid’s direction.”
The complaint adds that King would comply with Pahlavi because “she was in love with” him; when he allegedly told her to buy a $120,000 Tesla Model X, she purchased one.
In a previous interview with The Daily Beast, Pahlavi said he left America to get away from King after realizing what she had done. “It ended terribly,” Pahlavi said. “She betrayed me. Lied to me. Stole from me. Embarrassed me. Humiliated me. That’s not bad for a reason to break up.”
Pahlavi, who is the grandson of Iran’s Princess Ashraf, the late twin sister of the country’s last shah, said he was speaking out to prevent King from scamming anyone else.
“To tell you the truth it kills me to do this,” he said at the time, “but she is sick and she needs to be stopped before she scams the wrong person and she gets in real trouble.”
On Tuesday, Pahlavi denied King’s claims, saying he has hundreds of texts and emails to prove her accusations are false.
“She ruined my life enough, and now this,” Pahlavi said in reaction to King’s filing.
“How can someone force someone else to gamble. Just ask everyone. She was an addict. You couldn’t get her off these machines,” Pahlavi told The Daily Beast. “What kind of a person would push his wife to gamble with his best friend’s money. How does that make any sense?”
Pahlavi said that for all he knew, KFL’s accounts were in perfect order. “There was not one cent missing. The contracts were in perfect order. The appraisals and pictures of the collateral were all sent by her on the Google Drive Laurent and I had access to.”
“Even when I was gone until very recently, Sara was found playing in several casinos with money she stole from other victims. Did I push her to do this as well? She even tried to go back to the Wynn even though she was black listed there.”
“Sara’s motto has always been: deny till you die. That’s exactly what she is doing.”
Pahlavi also shared screenshots of messages between him and King, where he begs her to show up for scheduled meetings with Reiss to show him the alleged collateral of borrowers. The texts suggest King failed to present the banker with evidence of the flashy cars and watches that were supposedly securing the loans.
“He came here to feel more confident,” Pahlavi wrote in one message referring to Reiss. “So much for that. I am so embarrassed. He wants to see me. I have no idea what I am going to say because I don’t even know anything that is going on.”
“He’s gonna see it,” King replies. “What is your problem.”
At another point, Pahlavi says he hopes King “didn’t lose the money” at a casino. She answers, “Omg. You think that of me? Why on earth are you married to me ?”
In one message, Pahlavi says, “One day you say the watches are in Newport and cars in LA. Now the watches are in LA.”
“Are you on your way to Vegas?” Pahlavi writes in a string of unanswered messages. “I am going to have a [heart] attack.”
“You ruined everything for vegas,” he adds.
In her filing, King says she and Pahlavi were in a relationship for five years, getting married in February 2022 before separating the following December.
“Vahid and Reiss had been friends for over 30 years, and Vahid, not having worked during King and Vahid’s entire 5-year relationship, wanted to build a business with King and be a part of KFL,” her crossclaim states.
Reiss, her complaint adds, agreed to fund her and Pahlavi’s third-party loan company if he earned 60 percent of the profits. He then loaned KFL $605,000 to start.
“I’ve never heard of that defense: My husband made me gamble.”
King claims KFL paid LDR a total of $104,600 in interest in February and March 2022. Afterward, Reiss told King to “retain the principal amount and to retain all additional interest earned by loans for later use by Reiss to fund additional loans,” the complaint says.
But Reiss, the suit alleges, demanded Pahlavi “have full control of the back office, including all record keeping and accounting.” The complaint adds that the estranged hubby “verified and vouched to Reiss all happenings in the business, including without limitation, validity of collateral, and funding of loans.”
King says she was hesitant to give Pahlavi the financial reins because, she claims, he “misused and stole funds from [her] on multiple occasions” starting in 2019.
Pahlavi “would constantly steal money from King to pay for his ex-wife and child’s life, without informing King until King looked at bank statements,” her complaint alleges, adding that Pahlavi “had no money of his own during the entire relationship” and that she “fully supported” him and “even funded many of [his] failed businesses,” including a CBD company.
King also alleges she helped bankroll two buildings in Long Beach valued at $5 million so Pahlavi could start a legal cannabis enterprise.
She claims Pahlavi “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.”
Pahlavi, according to her filing, pressured her to get married so he could get a green card. As an exhibit to her complaint, King filed an out-of-context copy of an angry message from Pahlavi where he says, “I used you for the green card. That’s all. I don’t care about you. Go fuck your sled [sic].”
In a previous interview with The Daily Beast, Pahlavi said he was “literally heads over heels” for King and that they “were very much in love.”
On Tuesday, he said he never got a green card and that one of his adult children in the U.S. could have sponsored him for one. “We got married because we loved each other,” he said. “And yes I applied for a green card so I become legal. Nothing wrong with that.”
In spring of 2022, their business apparently became as rocky as their relationship.
King claims that’s when some of the loans defaulted and she planned to sell the collateral. But the person who was supposed to sell the assets, which included a 2021 Mercedes Benz G Wagon, boat, watch, and Mercedes-Maybach, had allegedly stolen them.
Her lawsuit says Pahlavi warned her not to tell Reiss about the alleged episode. Instead, King claims, Pahlavi persuaded her to try recouping their loss of funds in Vegas.
“Vahid was well aware that King could win at slot machines and persuaded King to try and win the money lost in the defaulted deals,” the complaint says. “King was in love with Vahid and was worried he would leave her if she did not cooperate. King cooperated with Vahid, and began playing slot machines.
“Vahid accompanied King at the Wynn Las Vegas during the majority of King’s time in Las Vegas. When King would win large jackpots, Vahid would collect the cash directly from King in the high-limit slot room at the Wynn Las Vegas.”
Around this time, the suit says, King realized KFL could expand in Las Vegas and began courting high-limit players at casinos in Sin City as potential clients.
King claims that as the business grew, Reiss instructed her to keep KFL’s earnings in KFL accounts. “Reiss and King agreed that they were ‘partners’ for purposes of KFL, however, Reiss needed to figure out a way to document the partnership in a way that would avoid paying any taxes in the United States,” her lawsuit says.
“Reiss then insisted that a colleague of his from overseas should help with the back office, and build a ‘proper’ spreadsheet and work with Vahid to handle back office matters,” the document continues. “Reiss further insisted that he put a team in place in California to take over KFL and that King be used merely to ‘source deals.’”
The complaint says Pahlavi and Reiss were in constant communication and that Pahlavi handled matters “in tandem with Reiss’s colleague.”
Ronald Richards, an attorney for Reiss and LDR International who is assisting King’s friends who lost money in her alleged scheme, told The Daily Beast, “There’s no evidence to support any of the contentions that anybody told her to do anything, and certainly, there’s no evidence that my client told her to gamble the money away.”
“I’ve never heard of that defense: My husband made me gamble,” Richards said. “She’s the lawyer in the finance company. Why is she doing that?”
“In the puzzling document, King portrays Pahlavi as a slot-machine svengali.”
The business began to apparently founder alongside the couple’s romance.
King claims that she and Pahlavi flew to New York to visit his daughter for her birthday, and that King left early after a lover’s spat. While she was en route back home to California, King’s suit alleges, Pahlavi contacted the concierge at their Los Angeles apartment and told them to allow someone inside to take assets—owned by King or being held by KFL—including watches, jewelry, electric bicycles, and golf clubs.
Afterward, King says she contacted Pahlavi’s immigration attorney and removed sponsorship for Pahlavi’s marriage-based green card application.
In turn, her complaint says, Pahlavi “began making accusations against King in a group chat text with Reiss, alleging that King stole money from KFL.”
Still, Pahlavi begged King to return to him and reinstate her support of his green card, the lawsuit alleges. King claims Pahlavi threatened to “throw [her] under the bus” if she didn’t do so, telling her he was a “prince” and she was a “nobody.”
Ultimately, King claims, Pahlavi “packed up his things, left King and followed through with his threats” to tell Reiss she’d misappropriated the funds.
King’s filing says the couple got back together despite these supposed threats, and Pahlavi recorded conversations to incriminate her.
She claims Pahlavi moved back into her apartment “only to slowly steal” cash from her safe and her designer clothing, which she claims he sold.
King’s complaint against Pahlavi alleges civil theft, indemnity, and civil violation of the California invasion of privacy act. The last cause of action, the filing notes, is related to King’s belief that Pahlavi surreptitiously recorded several of their conversations.
In copies of texts reviewed by The Daily Beast, King apologies to Pahlavi and says, “I love you. Very very much. So much so that I want to serve you every day to make your life better for what I ruined.” She adds, “I’m hoping the full truth sheds some light on things and we can move forward open kimono.”
“Sara you are incapable of saying the full truth,” Pahlavi responds. “You scare me. You probably are preparing a whole scheme to set me up.”
King, at another point, tells Pahlavi that she would “never throw you under the bus.”
“You are not responsible. You trusted me and I failed you too,” King wrote, adding, “I [thought] I could solve it at the casino and I was wrong. I dug a big hole and instead of asking for help I dug a bigger hole.”