AN AUSTRALIAN HEALTH official has been arrested after he allegedly stole AU$11 million (€8.4 million) in just one week.
Joel Barlow, real-name Hohepa Morehu-Barlow, is said to have stolen a total of AU$16million over a three year period from Queensland Health, a government funded organisation, where he worked as a finance manager, BBC News reports.
In what is being described as the most significant fraud cases in the history of Australia, the 36-year-old is accused of having diverted funds intended to go to charities and private service providers into his own bank account.
Over three years he allegedly stole $5 million but it is reported that in the last two weeks he allegedly deposited one huge transaction of $11 million into his bank account, a move which prompted the deputy director of Queensland Health to report him, the Australian reports.
A four-day nationwide manhunt ensued before Barlow was detained earlier today after being found hiding in his home, reportedly after he attempted to take his own life.
Watch a report from TenQueenslandNews:
He is expected to be charged with fraud while the Queensland Health organisation is to be wound up, the Australian government has said.
The Australian also reports some aspects of Barlow’s lavish lifestyle including allegations that he bought jetskis, and wakeboarding accessories along with a BMW 340i sedan and two 2009-model Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG sports cars which were each worth $130,000 and paid for in cash.
The Telegraph reports that Barlow’s playboy lifestyle also included a waterside home worth some $5.7 million which included a garage for his cars, a wine cellar, a grand piano, and pontoon on the Brisbane river.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, complaints were made about Barlow last year but were not followed up by authorities.