After being repeatedly threatened and blackmailed, the man now has no money, is “psychologically scarred”, his family relationships are broken and he suffered a debilitating stroke.
“The point is, Ms Zakhour, he has lost everything,” Judge Lyon told the sobbing swindler on Tuesday.
Zakhour lied to her second victim, a financial planner, that her family ran takeaway shops and a farm interstate and she needed money to pay staff. He paid her $61,000 in two instalments.
Judge Lyon jailed Zakhour, 41, for 4½ years after she pleaded guilty to six counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception, three of blackmail and two of extortion with threats to inflict injury.
She must serve two years and eight months before she is eligible for parole.
Judge Lyon said Zakhour callously exploited the two men under the ruse of romantic relationships after meeting on Tinder. The offending was persistent, overlapping and had a devastating effect on the victims.
“I can only conclude that you used the dating app as a hunting ground to seek out and exploit your victims,” the judge said.
“It was a ruthless exploitation and you have broken the ability of both men to be able to trust those around them.”
Zakhour had a gambling addiction, the court heard, as she believed betting helped her put past troubles behind her. While living in Lebanon in her 20s she was kidnapped by her then partner and held in Syria until her parents paid for her release. She had hoped to win at gambling to pay her parents back.
Despite her addiction and financial problems Crown enticed her to become a VIP member in the Mahogany Room, Judge Lyon said.
After her arrest she told police the first victim was to blame for his predicament because he was “so stupid” in believing her lies, although she later retracted the remark. She also told police she regretted having nothing to show after gambling away all the money.
She has since paid the men back about 10 per cent of what they lost.
Judge Lyon said a jail term was the only suitable punishment but found Zakhour had good prospects for rehabilitation because of strong support network and treatment for mental health problems.
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Adam Cooper joined The Age in 2011 after a decade with AAP. Email or tweet Adam with your news tips.