An Australian woman who used Tinder to fleece men out of their money to cover her gambling debt has continued her run of bad luck. Currently in prison for her crimes, court judges have denied her request for release.
What started as a blueberry and tobacco farm investment, so they thought, turned into a bad harvest for two Australian gamblers. They became victims of a casino con artist, losing over AU$780,000 (US$582,660) in the process.
The woman behind the 2018 scam found her would-be targets on Tinder, using the money to fuel her gambling addiction. She ultimately fell and received a prison sentence of almost five years. Now behind bars, she appealed the ruling. It didn’t work and she’ll stay where she is.
The Crown Casino Con
Jocelyn Zakhour was a Crown Casino VIP member, living the good life. That’s the image she portrayed in 2018 when she decided she needed to pick up some quick money.
Zakhour launched a scheme that she was sure would get her where she wanted to be. She attracted at least two men (there may have been others who never came forward) through the dating app Tinder between June and November of 2018. Once gaining their confidence, she enticed them with claims that she needed money for investing in blueberry and tobacco farms.
Her world began to fall apart after one of the victims enlisted the help of the police. Zakhour’s world came crashing down and, in 2019, a judge sentenced her to four years and eight months in prison.
For Zakhour, that was a bigger crime than her scams. She launched an appeal to have the sentence reduced. However, her argument that the men “knew what type of woman” she was and that they were “stupid” for believing the stories didn’t help her cause.
The two judges overseeing the appeal rejected her request and sent her back to her cell. She’ll remain there for another two years and eight months, according to the Herald Sun.
Dating App Scams Still Prominent
Zakhour tried to get more money out of her targets, threatening to contact their spouses and revealing all of the sordid details of the trysts. It didn’t work, but dating app scams continue to be a real issue.
A report by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) revealed that, last year, romance scams increased by 78% over the figure in 2020. They cost victims $547 million, and over the past five years, US residents have lost $1.3 billion to the swindling shysters.
The FBI stated last year that it received 1,800 complaints about online romance scams in the first seven months of the year. This is likely only a fraction of actual cases, as many victims are too embarrassed to file a report. They either don’t want anyone to know they so easily fell, or they want to avoid any fallout at home.
It’s easy to avoid falling for a dating app scam. If someone comes on too strong too quickly, there’s a good chance it’s a scam. If they repeatedly hint at having money issues, it’s probably a scam.
Also, if they ask for money, refuse. Their reaction will likely be a dead giveaway of their true intentions.
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