Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Fashionista to Fugitive

The month of February continues to throw up HEBUGS for closer inspection under the microscope…Joel Barlow, however, is anything but relic arm candy: this New Zealand specimen is a ‘fashionista’ if there ever was one. The thirty-seven year-old’s Louis Vuitton collection alone ranks as the biggest collection in the Southern Hemisphere!

Mr. Barlow dropped from being featured in Queensland’s 50 Most Stylish List to being written up as the state’s most wanted man, a dubious distinction few can claim.

Executive Hohepa Morehu-Barlow worked in the finance division of the Community Services Branch at Queensland health. He managed to siphon off around £10 million from the department’s coffers over a three-year period. Though audited twice, the Hebug left no clear evidence of his crime.

It was not until $11 million Aussie dollars did a walk-about in the space of a fortnight, in December 2011, that the authorities began their manhunt in earnest.

The duplicitous stylista even posed as a Tahitian prince in an effort to elevate his status in Australian society. Suave and slippery, he lead the lifestyle of the rich and famous, accepting every invitation and favour he could get his greedy, manicured hands on. His riverside apartment alone recently sold for £3.68 million. On the walls hung works painted by notable Australian painters Arthur Boyd, Brett Whiteley and John Olsen.

The con artist’s hoard of luxury items is to be auctioned off 10 March in Brisbane, should you care to attend. 

His ‘unearned’ stash is comprised of 1,000 items of luxury goods, furniture, jewellery, electrical items, books, artwork, curios, etc. But the more unusual pieces listed include a £62,000 Hermes saddle, a 19th century naval hat, a grand piano, a £16,000 bottle of French cognac and a sizeable range of luxury clothing and accessories. Did I forget to mention a fake crown and replica robots?

Approximately £7 million of the anticipated sales have already been earmarked for key causes in hopes of repairing the local damage to health services caused by lax standards and a fugitive fashionista.

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