Gambler fleeced lovers out of cash to spend at Crown Casino is jailed

By William Brown Updated
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A woman has shown no remorse as she was jailed for fleecing $800,000 from businessmen to bank roll her casino trips.

The Herald Sun reports Jocelyn Zakhour blew $24 million in just three years at the casino, including the $800,000 she took from businessmen she met on Tinder. 

Ms Zakhour turned over $24 million at Crown between 2016 and 2018, said her high-roller lifestyle and the special treatment she received gave her a sense “of power and control”.

Judge Gregory Lyon said Ms Zakhour “callously and ruthlessly” attracted her victims with the “ruse of a romantic relationship.” 

Judge Lyon said Ms Zakhour’s victim suffered a stroke after the offending. 

Ms Zakhour, who worked at a soup kitchen following her downfall and a hospital café, submitted Crown Casino “fuelled” her gambling addiction.

She was jailed for a maximum four years and six months.

Sentenced at the County Count last Tuesday to a minimum two years’ and eight months’ jail after pleading guilty to multiple fraud, blackmail and extortion charges, the former Mahogany Room Ultra-Black member was living at the casino when she targeted her two victims via Tinder in early to mid-2018.

The sly seductress told both men she needed cash to invest in a blueberry and illegal tobacco farm in NSW.

Ms Zakhour promised her first victim, a company chief executive, a “300 per cent return” if he pumped cash into the non-existent business.

The victim transferred $728,700 to Ms Zakhour via multiple transactions between June and November 2018.

Ms Zakhour rinsed her victim with a series of lies including a tale about how a truckload of illegal cigarettes had been intercepted by police.

In late-2018, Ms Zakhour sent the victim 240 emails which contained threats towards the man’s ex-wife, his children and his mother.

The victim reported Ms Zakhour to police in November 2018.

Detectives arranged for the victim to meet Ms Zakhour at Milano’s Tavern in Brighton, where they pounced and arrested her.

She told police she had planned to marry her victim in January and admitted to making up stories because the victim kept giving her money, the court head.

She admitted losing all the stolen cash playing Baccarat and pokies at the casino and told the police it was “all about the casino”, believing she could “win and pay the money back.”

Case against former Crown baccarat dealer up in the air

A Supreme Court of Appeal case against a former baccarat dealer and an alleged accomplice could collapse after the court found the casino’s security staff attempted to coerce admissions from the pair. 

The Age reported in August that the two people involved are alleged to have stolen more than $400,000 from Crown Resorts. 

The former croupier, who was given the pseudonym Adam Hoch by the court, and co-accused Milena Charles, also a pseudonym, both made full confessions to police in May 2017.

Raids of Ms Charles’ Southbank apartment uncovered a sports bag with more than $200,000 cash and casino chips worth about $50,000.

The proceeds were seized under asset confiscation laws, but will be returned to the accused if the charges are dropped.

Mr Hoch, who worked in Crown’s high-roller Mahogany Room, is alleged to have looked at cards and informed Ms Charles which cards were about to be dealt, helping them win $431,000 over 58 hours at his baccarat table between March and May 2017.

But a decision in the County Court of Victoria in March, which was upheld this week by the Supreme Court of Appeal, found the conduct of Crown’s security and surveillance unit had “tainted” the admissions.

Without the evidence, the Office of Public Prosecutions could now be forced to drop the charges against Mr Hoch and Ms Charles, who have both pleaded not guilty despite providing “substantial and fulsome admissions”.

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