Fraudster still racking up a princely bill
FAKE Tahitian prince Joel Morehu-Barlow has been locked away for almost two years past his parole eligibility date, with his jail costs adding to the millions of dollars he still owes the State Government.
It has already cost taxpayers about $130,000 to keep him housed, fed and jailed since he became eligible for parole.
The fake prince, who defrauded taxpayers of nearly $17 million by stealing from his employer Queensland Health, was arrested in December 2011.
Pretending to be of Tahitian royalty, Barlow lived a lavish lifestyle and splurged on Louis Vuitton items, gifts for friends and a multimillion-dollar luxury New Farm unit.
In 2013 he received a 14-year jail term and was eligible for parole in December 2016.
But the parole board refused his first request in February 2017 and then met in November again last year, deferring its decision.
It is unclear if an outcome was reached.
It is understood the board previously found he would be an "unacceptable risk to the New Zealand community" if released.
Locked away in Wolston jail, near Brisbane, it would cost a minimum of $65,000 a year to house and feed Barlow, according to official Queensland Corrective Services prisoner costs.
Authorities said they recovered about $11.88 million from Barlow's splurge.
But the amount he owes the state has increased to $11.6 million, which has interest accumulating every month of more than $50,000. After he is released Barlow will be kicked out of the country and deported to his New Zealand homeland.
His visa was automatically cancelled under the Migration Act, which was updated in 2014 to targets foreign nationals who are convicted of crimes with a sentence of 12 months prison or more.
The changes to the Migration Act has caused some tension between Australia and New Zealand, as 1400 Kiwis have been deported from the country since 2014.
Barlow will be subject to "parole-like" conditions when he is eventually released to NZ and the State Government can apply to have his debt registered there so they can continue to pursue him for money owed.