The Bronzaii Show
Hiding in the laundry chute of his luxurious riverside residence, Hohepa Morehu-Barlow fumed as he watched detectives rummage by his trove of designer belongings. The “royal” was in hiding. His residence and its contents - from the gathering of Louis Vuitton gear to the HRH-embroidered garments and crown - were about to be seized by the Queensland Government. The raid capped an almighty fall from grace. The new Zealander’s life of lies toppled faster than he could comprehend - his existence was funded by A$16.6 million ($20.Eight million) stolen from the state Authorities, not an allowance he acquired as a Tahitian prince, as he had managed to persuade buddies, colleagues, bosses and maybe even himself. ‘his’ property, it was probably the most offensive factor anyone may do, he was offended,” says his former lawyer AdamMagill. As Morehu-Barlow hid from police who had swarmed by way of his dwelling, his face and name had been printed in papers and broadcast on Television on each sides of the Tasman. He was outed as a pretentious Kiwi bureaucrat who perpetrated an outrageous fraud to fund his life-style as one of Brisbane’s fashionable excessive-flyers. His slush fund bought him designer clothes, costly liquor, and all the “friends” he wanted. As he was sentenced this week to 14 years in a Queensland jail after pleading responsible to eight fraud and medicine prices, he lastly had the notoriety he had perhaps at all times craved. The guillotine had fallen, however as he was led to the cells of the Brisbane District Courtroom he grinned broadly. Everybody knew who he was. Hohepa Morehu-Barlow was born in New Zealand on February 13, 1975, the eldest of six children. In line with the lawyer who represented him in courtroom this week, he had a troubled upbringing in Thames. David Shepherd instructed the court his client’s father was a drunken and violent man who typically beat their mom and she, in turn, would depart the home. Her children needed to fend for themselves. As youngsters, Morehu-Barlow, his 4 brothers and sister would roam the streets searching for meals or relations for help. Morehu-Barlow was at all times riddled with guilt and shame in regards to the life he and his siblings lived. His solely escape was at college, where he was a diligent student. Although he lacked a level, his climb by means of the ranks of Queensland Health was spectacular. “He received one thing like 5 promotions in a two-yr period,” Mr Magill says. Morehu-Barlow, who started calling himself Joel, was a middle-degree finance supervisor estimated to be incomes A$100,000 a 12 months when Brisbane’s social life beckoned. He had realized how the health division grants system labored and hatched a plot to manipulate it. Increasingly large sums had been paid, purportedly to a business which he set up himself, however they actually went to his personal checking account. The cash was spent on designer threads, parties, holidays and a set of gaudy belongings, including a crown and gadgets with pretend royal crests. He started to tell folks he was a Tahitian prince, and labored solely because his parents would in any other case stop his large allowance. The fraud fuelled the lie and the lie hid the fraud. The motivation maybe came from the suicide of a brother in 2007, a tragedy that had a “profound effect” on him, his lawyer informed the court this week. The guilt Morehu-Barlow felt as a helpless older brother after they have been youngsters returned and he began utilizing more celebration drugs. When he was arrested he was discovered sprawled on the mattress in his luxurious condominium after an apparently deliberate overdose. “He revisited all of these feelings of inadequacy and deprivation he felt when he was a baby,” Mr Shepherd stated. “Accessing cash was maybe a method of alleviating those feelings of guilt. The spiral began … Morehu-Barlow stole virtually A$17 million between 2008 and his arrest in December 2011. Police froze A$12 million of assets, together with his A$5.65 million condominium, a Mercedes-Benz and an Audi A4. Throughout the times he hid in his laundry chute, household in Australia and New Zealand had been shocked to hear what he was accused of. “We had been really getting ready for my uncle’s wedding after which subsequent minute he was everywhere in the information,” first cousin Shannon Morehu stated. “It was a big shock. But household stick together. If Joel Barlow was a prince then James St was nearly certainly his kingdom. A playground for the affluent and arty, the leafy precinct in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley is full of hip clubs and eating places and designer all the things. Right here he may splash his stolen hundreds of thousands on all the pieces, including newfound “friends”, although few of them need to talk about him now. Nestled beside a cafe just off James St is Libertine Parfumerie, the posh designer fragrance retailer many believed Morehu-Barlow co-owned. Proprietor Nick Good was reluctant to debate him this week. Mr Sensible, a tall man as delicately preened because the faux prince himself, is prickly and defensive when questioned and claims he can’t comment about Morehu-Barlow because “Joel was a client”. “Everyone is aware of Joel Barlow,” one girl says as she walks into another James St store and overhears a dialog concerning the man. What do you learn about him? “He’s a really naughty boy,” she says. He might have been naughty however nobody on James St complained. Some genuinely believed he was royalty, one woman says, and Morehu-Barlow’s arrogance and outlandish sprees only helped convince others. “I know individuals who were satisfied he was a prince,” she says from behind a desk at an avant-garde furniture retailer. Contemporary jewellery store Stone and Metal was one of the beneficiaries of his spending. He once walked by way of the store together with his cellphone glued to his ear as he pointed at costly pieces of jewellery to look at. Ultimately the woman in the store requested which of the items he wanted to buy. “All of them,” he replied. Nearby, in Brisbane’s nightclub district, Morehu-Barlow threw a A$140,000 birthday bash for the folks he favored to impress. It was capped with a cake designed to look like luggage from Louis Vuitton, the designer retailer where he spent more than A$600,000 and was reportedly the biggest customer within the Southern Hemisphere. “He was tied up in that lie. He thought he was invincible,” Mr Magill says. “From the outside trying in he had every little thing he could have wished. He may do something he wanted. “He was residing the lie and … However his time was working out, and as shortly as he was arrested and minimize off from his A$12 million of property, these he referred to as associates started distancing themselves from him. The prince had fallen from his fictitious throne. Within the Arthur Gorrie Correction Centre on Brisbane’s outskirts, Morehu-Barlow’s A$6 million apartment has been changed by a cell, designer fits by prison-problem tracksuits. The sports activities automobiles and <a href= car -wash-8898-for-sale">luxury luggage are gone. The only mod cons are a Sony PlayStation and satellite tv for pc Television network Foxtel. Many of his “friends” stopped contacting him after his arrest, his cousin Shannon Morehu said. Some still visit but it’s principally whanau who make regular journeys to see how he's. He is behind bars till no less than December 2016, when he can apply for parole. When he’s launched he can be deported to New Zealand. But it could have been his notoriety that meant Morehu-Barlow was “upbeat” when household visited on Sunday; that meant he smiled broadly as he waved goodbye to buddies and household in the Brisbane District Court docket this week. As Adam Magill walked by way of the prison on his way to satisfy Morehu-Barlow shortly after his arrest, the lawyer greeted a number of former clients who had been behind bars. Initially Mr Magill thought the “penny had dropped” for Morehu-Barlow, that he had realised his lies had lastly caught up with him. However the fraudster nonetheless lusted for glamour. He loved the attention. “You’re nearly as famous as I'm,” he informed his lawyer, whom he would soon run out of cash to pay. Hohepa Morehu-Barlow was a fraudster lengthy earlier than he moved to Australia and began stealing from Queensland Health. In New Zealand in 1998, he was nonetheless referred to as Joseph Barlow, the title he grew up with. It was about this time he was dragged earlier than a court for stealing virtually $32,000 from his employer, a cost that brought him a suspended eight-month jail term. The subsequent year he changed his identify to Hohepa, the Maori equal of Joseph, and hyphenated his surname to include his father’s household identify. This could be his identification for a brand new life in Australia. He moved throughout the Tasman within the early 2000s however it wasn’t until 2007 that he started work for Queensland Health. Over 4 years he managed to fleece the state Authorities of greater than $16 million. But his lies began earlier than he was even employed. On his CV, Morehu-Barlow claimed to have a excessive-rating regulation diploma from Victoria College of Wellington, a qualification that landed him on the path to turning into a senior finance supervisor. After his arrest police found the diploma never existed. Morehu-Barlow had started a bachelor of commerce but by no means accomplished it. However, once ensconced at Queensland Health he set up a fake business and solid paperwork, including letters beneath the state well being minister’s hand, to legitimise the switch of state funds to his private account. He cast extra paperwork for the most important, and final, of his sixty two fraudulent payments, purportedly for a dental constructing at a Queensland university. His lies have been discovered after a mid-level manager suspicious of the large quantity concerned looked for info concerning the business and located Morehu-Barlow was the director. In court, his lawyer David Shepherd said Morehu-Barlow felt he could have been caught at any time. But Judge Kerry O’Brien described Morehu-Barlow’s offending as an “audacious scheme … Lots of the items seized from Hopeha Morehu-Barlow’s dwelling were auctioned in Brisbane this month. They included dozens of objects from his favoured designer, Louis Vuitton.