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

06:49, Feb 07 2013
Hohepa Morehu-Barlow, also known as Joel Barlow.
ACCUSED FRAUDSTER: Hohepa Morehu-Barlow, also known as Joel Barlow.

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.

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.





Sporting Memorabilia:


Home goods:

Other belongings: