Zealand conman accused of defrauding more than $16 million
from his former employer, Queensland Health, is expected to
Joel Morehu-Barlow, also known as Hohepa Morehu-Barlow,
passed himself off as a Tahitian prince to friends and
colleagues while living the high life in Brisbane.
The 37-year-old was arrested last December and was alleged to
have defrauded the government department while working there
between 2007 and last year.
His charges included two counts of aggravated fraud, two of
aggravated forgery, one of aggravated uttering, two of
possessing dangerous drugs, one of possessing a relevant
substance and one of possessing drug utensils.
In a brief review of the matter before the Brisbane District
Court today, Judge Kerry O'Brien set a sentence date for
Morehu-Barlow of March 20 next year, The Australian
Morehu-Barlow has not yet formally entered a plea to the
charges, but his lawyer's confirmation today that the matter
would proceed straight to sentencing without a trial meant he
would plead guilty.
David Shepherd, appearing for Morehu-Barlow, said prosecutors
would present a new indictment, but it was possible some
matters would be contested at sentencing.
Morehu-Barlow had worked for Queensland Health for five years
when checks revealed millions of dollars appeared to have
Authorities froze Morehu-Barlow's assets and seized millions
of dollars worth of property, some from family and friends,
in a bid to recover some of the funds he allegedly siphoned
Morehu-Barlow grew up in Thames, and lived the high life in
Australia, convincing people he was a rich, Tahitian prince.
His life was filled with Louis Vuitton suits, Lamborghini
cars and a rented multimillion-dollar apartment. He was
handsome and popular, and his photos regularly made social
pages in the local newspapers.
Morehu-Barlow was not in court today.