An infamous international scammer who posed as a 14-year-old child sex-trafficking victim from France – despite being a 33-year-old Australian – is being held in jail for six weeks as doctors investigate WHY she keeps doing it
- Woman defrauded Canadian and Irish police, she was the victim of child sex trafficking
- Samantha Azzopardi, 33, has repeatedly claimed to be a 14-year-old French teenager
- She sparked a similar investigation in Sydney this week until her ID card was spotted
- Azzopardi will be held in jail for six weeks for mental health evaluations
- Police said she had been charged more than 100 times with fraud or deception
Serial con man and compulsive liar Samantha Azzopardi will spend at least six weeks in prison after admitting she posed as an abused French teenager living in Sydney, sparking a nine-hour multi-agency search.
Azzopardi, 33, was arrested on Monday after an astute worker recognized elements of a previous Azzopardi scam in the story the offender gave to police and a religious charity, Jewish House.
She refused to appear in Waverley Local Court on Friday and pleaded guilty through a solicitor to making a false statement, prompting a police investigation.
A mental health evaluation was ordered ahead of his October 12 sentencing.
The Jewish Home first alerted police on Monday about a child protection issue.
Samantha Azzopardi, seen here in police custody, pleaded guilty to making a false statement resulting in a police investigation
Azzopardi, here pictured in 2021, told a homeless charity and police she only spoke French
When officers arrived at a property in Woollhara, Azzopardi tried to escape before saying she was 14-year-old Enslie Cohen, who had fled abuse in France and had recently moved into foster care Australian.
She led the police on a five-hour wild goose hunt in the eastern suburbs to find her fictional foster family’s home, repeatedly claiming through limited English that she was lost and unaware of her surroundings.
A French-speaking policeman tried to talk to her, but she did not respond.
His ruse ended when an officer from the NSW Department of Communities and Justice responded to the police risk of serious harm report and acknowledged similarities to a recent Azzopardi scam.
Fingerprints eventually confirmed the 33-year-old’s identity.
Azzopardi, here pictured in 2019, was held in jail for a mental health assessment ahead of his October 12 sentencing
Yet she tried to pull the wool over the eyes of a custody official, signing documents under the name Emily Ramberger.
Azzopardi also refused to allow his photo ID to be taken.
Her previous frauds include deceiving Irish and Canadian police into believing she was a victim of human trafficking, acting as a qualified nanny for a Victorian couple and claiming at a mental health clinic in Bendigo that ‘she was pregnant and abused 14 years.
She was released by Victorian authorities in May 2021 on charges of fraud and child theft, only to spark another bogus investigation in late 2021 in New South Wales when she posed as a 14-year-old teenager.
Waverley Police said she had been charged 100 times in Australia, mostly for offenses relating to fraud and deception.
In May, Azzopardi was sentenced to serve a three-year community correction order after telling police she was a teenage cult member who had been sexually abused.
“It is apparent that the defendant is a compulsive liar and suffers from multiple mental health issues, which is no doubt a catalyst for her offending,” a statement of facts reads.
Monday’s search not only came at a significant financial cost, but required the resources of several agencies that could have been used in a meaningful way to help those in genuine need of assistance, the facts show.
“(Azzopardi) had ample opportunity to inform the police of his true identity, in which case such a thorough investigation would not have taken place,” he said.
She suffers from a severe personality disorder and pseudologia fantastica, which manifests as compulsive and pathological lying, according to court documents.
She also suffers from schizophrenia, the court heard on Friday.