Fit for a prince: Fraud accused's crown goes to auction

MARISSA CALLIGEROS
Last updated 16:18 07/02/2013
Fairfax Australia

More than half a million dollars worth of luxury products are set to be auctioned in Brisbane in a "once in a lifetime sale" of items once owned by alleged fraudster Joel Barlow.

Hohepa Morehu-Barlow, also known as Joel Barlow.
ACCUSED FRAUDSTER: Hohepa Morehu-Barlow, also known as Joel Barlow.

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A treasure-trove of designer garments, jewellery, artwork, wine, champagne and a bizarre collection of bric-a-brac, including a crown, accumulated by accused Queensland Health fraudster Hohepa Morehu-Barlow will be auctioned next month.

The crown will go under the hammer alongside more than 1000 items that once belonged to Morehu-Barlow, who once lived the high-life while claiming to be a Tahitian prince.

The items will be auctioned on March 10 at Antique and Fine Art Auctions in Woolloongabba, as the Public Trustee attempts to recoup the millions of dollars Morehu-Barlow allegedly fleeced from Queensland Health, where he worked as a funds manager.

Stuart Vallance of Antique and Fine Art Auctions said he expected frenzied bidding from between 1500 and 2000 registered buyers keen for a bargain.

He said the auction would likely recover $300,000 for the government.

The most valuable item available will be a $95,000 Bang and Olufsen television, which the auctioneers expect to sell for $15,000 to $25,000.

A Hermes leather saddle valued at $10,000 could sell for $6000, Vallance said.

The saddle currently sits on a life-size black stallion that serves as a lamp.

"We may sell them together, or separately," Vallance said.

Buyers will likely reap the best deals on hundreds of Louis Vuitton items, including scarves, ties, suits and luggage, collected by Morehu-Barlow.

Bidding on a $3000 Louis Vuitton travel case will likely start at $300.

"There is a huge amount of Louis Vuitton, most of it still in the original boxes, unused," Vallance said.

"That is all priced to attract as much bidding as possible."

The auction house hopes recoup the discounts on those items, in the sale of Morehu-Barlow's collection of fine alcohol, including a six-litre limited edition bottle of Hennessy Cognac valued at $25,000, and a $19,000 six-litre bottle of Dom Perignon.

Morehu-Barlow, also known as Joel Barlow, funded an extravagant lifestyle and claimed to be Tahitian royalty, while allegedly fleecing money from the public purse.

He remains behind bars on remand, charged with defrauding the government of more than $16 million in public funds.

Authorities have seized more than $12 million worth of assets from Mr Morehu-Barlow since his arrest in December 2011.

The riverfront New Farm apartment owned by Mr Morehu-Barlow has already been sold for $5.65 million, as well as his prized Mercedes-Benz and Audi A4.

A separate auction of Morehu-Barlow's two most valuable paintings - Jeffrey Smart's Study for the Terrace, Variations on a Theme and Tim Storrier's Starlight Over The Plain - will be held in Melbourne on April 24.

The proceeds of the auctions will be held in trust until a court orders that they be forfeited to the state, although the Newman government already plans to use the funds to help deliver an anti-cancer vaccine to boys and expand BreastScreen Queensland.

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The public can view the "Morehu-Barlow collection" at Antique and Fine Art Auctions on Logan Road on March 7, 8 and 9.

Property catalogue

An excerpt from the 29-page catalogue of the items the state government has seized from accused Queensland Health fraudster Hohepa Morehu-Barlow.

Clothing:

  • 98 business shirts: Heringbone Sydney (18), Louis Vuitton (15), Mateo Di Rota (eight), Marcs (seven), Rhodes and Beckett (six), Tom Ford (six), mixed brands (38).
  • 87 T-shirts (various brands)
  • 58 ties: Louis Vuitton (28)
  • 30 pairs of Louis Vuitton shoes, including one pair of black sequined business shoes
  • 17 jeans (various brands)
  • Five suits: Louis Vuitton (four), Hugo Boss (one)
  • Three Louis Vuitton gloves (boxed)
  • Five Louis Vuitton jackets
  • One Louis Vuitton fur-like collar
  • One Louis Vuitton dinner coat
  • One Hugo Boss dinner jacket
  • One Louis Vuitton windcheater
  • One Louis Vuitton denim jacket
  • One Louis Vuitton vest
  • One Louis Vuitton leather jacket
  • One Louis Vuitton bath robe

Accessories:

  • 41 scarves: Louis Vuitton (26, including one fox-fur scarf), Alexander McQueen (one), No-brand (14)
  • 36 sunglasses: Louis Vuitton (six), Kirk (one), Marc Jacobs (nine), Dolche & Gabbanna (one), Tom Ford (five), Dita (two), Chanel (one), Ray Bans (two), Gucci (three), Christian Dior, D-Squared, Issou, Porche, Carrera, and Balenciaga (one).
  • Nine Louis Vuitton cufflinks
  • Seven watches: Cartier (2), Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Breitling (1).
  • Two Louis Vuitton tie clips
  • One Alexander McQueen skull cufflinks
  • One Mother of Pearl opera glasses
  • One Hermes wallet
  • One Louis Vuitton wallet, embossed with "HRH"
  • One Dolche & Gabbanna tan rabbit fur hat
  • One Hermes black shawl

Artwork:

  • Tim Storrier's Straight Over the Plain
  • Jeffrey Smart's Study for the Terrace, Variation on a Theme
  • Arthur Boyd's Pulpit Rock
  • Dean Vella's Flower vase, blocks on blue
  • Brett Whitely (one work)
  • Jake Reston (five works)

Alcohol:

  • Six litre Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne
  • Six litre Dom Perignon Champagne (in metal box)
  • Six litre Krug Champagne (in wooden box)
  • Moet and Chandon 2003 Grand Vintage Champagne 750 millilitres
  • Dom Perignon 2002 Vintage Champagne 750 millilitres
  • Kauffman Private Collection Vodka
  • Pedro Ximenez Sherry
  • Neilpoorts 1983 Port
  • Martell L'Or Cognac 700 millilitres (boxed)
  • Henessy XO Cognac 70 millilitres
  • Johnnie Walker Blue Label

Sporting Memorabilia:

  • One signed All Blacks jersey
  • One framed Queensland Reds jersey

Luggage:

  • Six Louis Vuitton overnight bags
  • Three Louis Vuitton sports bags
  • Three Louis Vuitton satchels

Home goods:

  • Four Louis Vuitton towels
  • Four Hermes blankets
  • Two cowskin rugs
  • One Ralph Lauren ice bucket
  • One Hermes ice bucket
  • One Dyson vacuum cleaner with accessories

Other belongings:

  • 27 empty sunglass cases
  • 22 sets of rosary beads
  • 18 Louis Vuitton suit bags
  • Nine antique wind-up robots
  • SevenDavidoff Double cigars
  • Four humidors: Louis Vuitton (two), Creedo Precision 70 (two)
  • Four phones: iPhone (three), mobile (one)
  • Three Bunnings Warehouse $100 gift vouchers
  • One Hermes saddle
  • One 64GB silver iPod engraved with "HRH Hohepa Morehu-Barlow"
  • One Louis Vuitton umbrella
  • One Louis Vuitton business card holder
  • One Louis Vuitton laptop bag
  • One Louis Vuitton iPad holder
  • One leather thong with leather Mary cross on back
  • One black and silver crucifix
  • One Trojan tool box
  • One "High Roller Las Vegas" key ring
  • One Kiwi money box
  • One Whitney Houston 2010 tour book
  • One Diamantin and Domenicoru Italian cuckoo clock
  • One blood pressure machine
  • One 10 kilogram dumbbell

- Stuff

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