Beware of Woman with Gambling Problems

According to reports, a lady who resided at Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia, allegedly conned approximately A$800,000 (NZ$862,527) from unsuspecting men she met on Tinder. She allegedly squandered it on gambling.

The lady, identified as Jocelyn Zakhour, found herself involved in heavy gambling in an attempt to raise funds to pay back her parents after she was supposedly kidnapped by her ex-husband in the Middle East and ransomed her for the sum of A$400,000 (NZ$436,382), a court heard. Soon Jocelyn was hanging out with some “high rollers” and began to con innocent men who took her as a love interest out of money that she claimed was to fund a blueberry farm. She told the police that she felt it was her victims’ fault, and she had no sympathy for them as they were “so stupid.”

The 41-year-old lady was jailed for four years and six months with 32 months non-parole for her “false promises,”  according to a statement on Tuesday by County Court of Victoria judge Gregory Lyons. Zakhour was 39 years old when she first started chatting with a 54-year-old chief executive on the dating app in June 2018, quickly going into a relationship with the man.

According to Judge Lyon, they were only an item for a week when she came up with an idea of purchasing a non-existent blueberry farm in NSW. Zakhour also told the man a lie about having a cigarette importation business to milk more money out of him. The chief executive believed that he gave his woman money for seeds, salaries for farmworkers, and harvests.

He transferred a total of A$728,700 (NZ$787,833) to her in various instalments ranging from A$1500 (NZ$1621) to A$110,000 (NZ$118,926) in a total of 17 instances over five months — all of that money ending up with NZ casino with real money deposits. By the end of July, Zakhour purchased for her victim what she claimed was a flashy Rolex of A$60,000 (NZ$64,868) as a present — but police later confirmed that the watch was a fake. She began her tale by spinning it as a profitable investment that will help get a considerable return and escalate to breakup threats and violence if he did not give her more money.

She continued pressuring him to withdraw cash and sent him 240 emails in about three weeks threatening his children, ex-wife, mother, and children. The man eventually went to the police. In a victim impact statement, the man mentioned to the court that the accused “ruined his life,” leaving his pockets empty, leading to psychological scars and breaking down family relationships.

He claims to have had a”debilitating” stroke that made it impossible for him to provide for his daughters.

Zakhour was eventually arrested on the 12th of December 2018 and finally interviewed by police, where she had to face her lies.

When she was asked about her family living in Dubai, she stated that her victim was stupid and that her family was in Wodonga, according to police. She mentioned to the police that she regretted spending all of the money she got at Crown Casino. “The thing that’s hurting me the most is I did nothing with all that money,” she said. Adding that she could have bought herself the most significant business. She didn’t even get a car nor a property for herself.

“Nothing at all to show for it.”

Police further discovered that in February 2018, Zakhour had also met a 45-year-old  man who works as a financial planner on Tinder — and also convinced him to make transfers of  A$61,000 (NZ$65,950) for a fake fruit and vegetable farm. She finally pleaded guilty to two charges of extortion, three of blackmail, and six of obtaining financial advantage by deception. Judge Lyon mentioned that the accused had a childhood and adolescence that can be considered normal and only started to gamble after her first marriage failed when she was about 19 years old at the time.

After her second union ended, she relocated to Lebanon. The court was informed that she was “followed, kidnapped, and held hostage in Syria” for a total of 10 months by her estranged husband. He allegedly requested a ransom ofA$400,000 (NZ$436,382) from her folks. According to the judge, once the accused returned to Australia, you found gambling market as comfortable for players. 

While she had initially intended to make big wins and pay her parents back for helping get her out of captivity, her status and lifestyle at the Casino turned into a “fantasy” where cash had no meaning beyond enabling her to gamble. Judge Lyon went on to say that the accused used the dating app as a good “hunting ground” to fish out and ultimately exploit men with money. He stated that she “callously and ruthlessly” took advantage of her victims’ vulnerability by creating a ruse of a relationship she built with them. He added that the victims would struggle to trust again.