Sara Jacqueline King, a 39-year-old woman from Newport Beach, pleaded guilty to federal felony charges after using her investors' money to fund her luxurious lifestyle.
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
According to her plea agreement, from January 2022 until January 2023, King, through her company King Family Lending LLC, actively recruited investors to fund her business's loans. King Family Lending was involved in short-term, high-interest loans for high-net-worth individuals. They would offer up one of their assets for collateral and receive one of the loans - which were funded by investors.
King promised both parties that she would keep the collateral until the loan was paid back or the borrower defaulted, at which point she would sell it and pay the investor in full. She also said she would keep a percentage of the interest earned from the loans and give the investors a percentage of the interest.
Instead of making good on her promises to the investors, King spent this time using the victim investors' funds to gamble in Las Vegas casinos and pay for her over-the-top lifestyle. All in all, she caused five investors to lose more than $8 million. She also withdrew over $100,000 of investor money from the company bank account to buy a Porsche.
As such, King faces up to 20 years in prison and at least $250,000 in fines.
An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
In this case, the defendant decided to plead guilty, probably at the behest of her attorney. However, sometimes it is not appropriate to plead guilty. Pleading guilty essentially waives the defendant's right to being presumed innocent until proven guilty. It then shifts the burden of proof from the prosecution onto the defense. In criminal cases where you plead not guilty, it is up to the prosecution to prove their argument using witness testimony and evidence to support it. The defense simply has to refute their argument or offer another explanation. But when pleading guilty, that burden lands on the defendant to prove they did not commit the crime - which can be hard to prove.
This is why it is so important to work with a skilled attorney who understands your challenges and can help you make the best decision for your circumstances. Attorney Vitaly Sigal of Sigal Law Group can help. Call 818-325-0579 today for a free consultation.