International au pair fraudster to appeal

·2-min read

A serial fraudster who posed as a qualified nanny is appealing a prison sentence she was handed for stealing the children in her care.

Samantha Azzopardi, 32, is already eligible for release on parole under the sentence she was handed by Victorian Magistrate Johanna Metcalf on Friday.

She was described during her sentencing as a disturbed woman who created bizarre and false identities, pretending to be an au pair, a talent scout and a pregnant and abused teenager.

The pathological liar was jailed for two years but declared eligible for parole after 12 months provided she receive appropriate mental health treatment on her release.

Azzopardi had already served 574 days behind bars while awaiting trial, before pleading guilty.

She admitted multiple charges including child stealing, dishonestly obtaining wages from her work as a nanny, and making false reports to police.

Ms Metcalf called Azzopardi's deceptions a prolonged and gross breach of trust.

Based on lies and false recommendations she was hired by Victorian couple Jazze and Tom Jervis, who believed her to be a qualified nanny named Harper Hernandez.

Posing as a talent scout named Marley she claimed to be mentoring a 12-year-old girl in acting, even taking her to Sydney for a supposed audition.

"The deceptions in this case were a gross breach of trust toward the child, a 12-year-old girl who believed you were helping to realise her acting ambitions," Ms Metcalf said.

She continued her au pair ruse later on another couple, taking their two children with her to Bendigo where she claimed to Headspace mental health services that she was a pregnant 14-year-old who had been abused.

Azzopardi's history of lies is lengthy and includes scams that cost the Irish and Canadian governments hundreds of thousands of dollars to expose her true identity after duping them into believing she was a human trafficking victim.

In Australia, she convinced a Perth family she was a Russian gymnast named Emily whose entire family had been killed in a murder-suicide in France.

She's been caught in Sydney too, passing herself off as a schoolgirl more than half her age.

Azzopardi has criminal convictions for dishonesty offences in Queensland, Western Australia and NSW, as well as for Commonwealth offences.

Psychiatrist Jacqueline Rakov assessed Azzopardi this year and found she had a severe personality disorder and pseudologia fantastica - a "rare but dramatic" psychiatric disorder involving an "extreme type of lying".

She said Azzopardi was a high risk of re-offending if left to her own devices, but less so if she engages willingly in long-term and ongoing therapy.

A first hearing is listed in the County Court on September 6.

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