A VIP gambler who conned two men she met on Tinder out of more than $780,000 claimed she would buy a blueberry farm with the cash.
Jocelyn Zakhour admitted to defrauding the 54-year-old and 45-year-old she met on the dating app Tinder in 2018.
The 40-year-old woman was a VIP at Crown Casino and lived there when she met her first victim in June 2018 on Tinder, the Victorian County Court was told on Thursday.
Three weeks after they met, Zakhour convinced her victim to give her $110,000 to help her buy a blueberry farm. It was the first of many lies.
The next day, Zakhour told him she needed another $41,000 to buy land for the farm and he transferred it.
To convince him she was going to pay back the money and it was not a scam, the gambling addict gave him a Rolex watch. It turned out to be a fake.
At one point, she told him a ‘Malaysian worker’ threatened to go to police if he wasn’t paid more money and out of fear, the victim gave Zakhour $40,000.
She sent him hundreds of emails threatening his ex-wife, children and mother if she didn’t get cash.
‘Tell your ex-wife you will kill yourself if she doesn’t give you the money,’ she said in one message and she also told him to take the money out of his superannuation.
In her police interview, Zakhour told police the stories about the blueberry farm, tobacco and Malaysian worker were made up because the man kept giving her money.
‘He knew what type of girl I was,’ she told police.
Her second victim was a 45-year-old financial planner who she also met on Tinder.
She told him she was struggling to pay the wages of workers on her farm and though he was reluctant, he transferred $50,000 to Zakhour.
He ended up transferring another $11,000 to her.
In total, the men lost $789,700.
One said he felt ‘shell shocked’ and her actions ruined his life and another said her ‘heinous’ deeds ruined him.
During the pre-sentence hearing at the Victorian County Court, Zakhour wiped her eyes as she sat in her lawyer’s office.
Her barrister said the money went to fund her gambling addiction, and she was embarrassed and ashamed about what she had done.
She wrote an apology letter to her victims, spent the past 18 months volunteering at a soup kitchen, and paid back her victims about 10 per cent of what they had lost.
Zakhour will be sentenced at a later date.