Lazy Qld. cops give embezzler a pass
FAKE Tahitian prince Joel Morehu-Barlow fled to Australia after a complaint was made to New Zealand police about an alleged criminal offence seven years ago. The revelation will embarrass the Crime and Misconduct Commission, police and Queensland Health, which last year dismissed a complaint about Barlow without a proper investigation.
The Sunday Mail has discovered Barlow's childhood "castle" was really an ageing weatherboard home with a tin roof in Thames, on New Zealand's North Island. His mother the "Queen", Andre Barlow, was last year convicted in the Wellington District Court of stealing almost $25,000 from her lesbian partner's inheritance funds to pay her bills.
Barlow, who was charged last week with embezzling $11 million from Queensland Health, was a child when he began lying about his links to royalty, schoolmates said. "He went on a bit about how he was famous," former Thames High School pupil Michael Barrett said. "He would carry around a staff."
Further details of the criminal allegations against Barlow cannot be published due to legal reasons, but it can be revealed he was a cross-dressing chameleon obsessed with his appearance.
He was a frequent customer in Brisbane spas and beauty clinics where he would get spray tans, eyebrow shaping and Botox. He was often seen in drag at The Sportsman Hotel in Spring Hill, patrons said. "When he was dressed as a man he shouted everyone, but when he was in drag everyone shouted him," one said.
He was fond of throwing lavish parties, including a massive $130,000 bash for his birthday.
Barlow had lived in a Vernon Tce apartment in the inner-Brisbane suburb of Teneriffe since about 2004 and in the early days was often seen dressed as a woman.
He worked for the Children's Commissioner in NZ and also for the NZ Inland Revenue.
The CMC is investigating Queensland Health and police over the fiasco, but a spokeswoman confirmed the watchdog also would look at its own role, amid serious questions about its handling of complaints.
The CMC referred last year's complaint to Queensland Health, but retained oversight and accepted an inadequate investigation that did not even question Barlow.