Scammer dupes two men out of nearly $800,000 to fund gambling habit

By Mia Chapman Updated
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A Melbourne woman has admitted to scamming two men she met on a dating app out of nearly $800,000 in order to fund her gambling addiction by telling her victims the money was for a blueberry farm.

A 40-year-old woman who enjoyed VIP status at Crown Casino in Melbourne was living at the resort when she met her first victim.

Three weeks later, he gave her A$110,000 to help her purchase a blueberry farm and then another A$41,000 the next day to supposedly complete the sale.

Those were only the first of her requests though, as the woman told a 54-year-old that a “Malaysian worker” had threatened to go to the police if he wasn’t paid off.

The man gave the woman A$40,000, who confessed to the scams during a pre-sentencing hearing at the Victorian County Court last Thursday.

As the requests continued, the woman allegedly threatened the first man and his family via email if he didn’t continue to pay her.

“Tell your ex-wife you will kill yourself if she doesn’t give you the money,” the woman said, who soon met her second victim on Tinder.

She continued telling stories about her supposed blueberry farm, this time claiming she needed money to pay her workers.

The 45-year-old financial planner whom she met sent her A$50,000.

The story of the blueberry farm was made up because her first victim continued to give her cash each time she asked for it, so she told police she continued with that story.

At one point, the alleged scammer gave one of her victims a Rolex watch to prove that she was not scamming him, but the watch was a fake.

During pre-sentencing, the woman’s barrister explained that the money was actually going to fund her gambling addiction.

According to the lawyer, she had already written an apology letter to the two men, paid back about 10 per cent of what she took from them and had spent 18 months volunteering at a soup kitchen.

According to media reports, the woman wiped away tears in her eyes during the hearing.

The judge will sentence her at a later date.

ACMA warns against casino scam messages

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has warned the public to be wary of suspicious messages pretending to be from online gambling websites and not to disclose personal information to potential scammers offering credit or free spins.

European Gaming reported in March that ACMA spokeswoman Fiona Cameron says people should delete the emails if they receive any, and do not respond or click on any links.

“There’s no such thing as free money.

“Don’t let yourself be conned into believing you have any credit or bonuses with these casinos – you don’t,” she said.

“This is just a phishing expedition to steal your identity or infect your computer with malicious malware.

“Remember if it looks too good to be true, it probably is,” she added.

More than 6000 online gambling scams have been reported since the start of the year.

The most common websites the scams claim to be from are Roo Casino, Pokie Spins, Bonza Spins and Syndicate Casino.

Men to appear in court after Sydney casino fraud

Two men appeared in court last week charged with fraud offences following an investigation into professionally facilitated fraudulent activity at a Sydney casino.

The Mirage News reported in January that in September 2019, the State Crime Command’s Organised Crime Squad’s Casino and Racing Unit commenced an investigation under Strike Force Antree following reports of fraudulent activity between a casino gaming supervisor and a patron.

Following extensive inquiries, two men – aged 23 and 25 – were each issued Court Attendance Notices from 13 counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception in December, 2019.

Police will allege in court that the men – who are known to each other – used the younger man’s employment at the casino to facilitate an elaborate scheme and fraudulently obtain more than $90,000 worth of gaming chips in August.

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