A gay New Zealander who passed himself off as a Tahitian prince has been arrested in Queensland, Australia for allegedly defrauding taxpayers of $21million to fund his lavish lifestyle.
Hohepa Morehu-Barlow, 36, who is also known as Joel and Joseph Barlow, was arrested at a house in the Brisbane suburb of New Farm on Monday (12 December), it is being reported on GayNZ.com.
He is accused of siphoning off funds meant for healthcare charities during his time as financial manager at Queensland Health, over the past two to three years.
Police have seized his passport and frozen his assets, which include artworks, several Mercedes and an inner-city apartment.
His lawyer and friend Nick Smart told the Queensland Sunday Mail: ‘Everyone in Brisbane, from every shop he shopped at, believed he was from the royal family.’
He is reported to be under police guard at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital where he is being treated for a suspected heavy dose of anti-anxiety medication.