Authorities in Sydney were duped by her distressing tale of abuse – putting her into foster care and getting charities to give handouts
A WOMAN fraudster posed as a 13-year-old victim of sex trafficking to get a free iPad — part of a years-long worldwide tour of deception.
Samantha Azzopardi, 28, told Australian authorities she had been abused and tricked charities into giving her donations.
She was even put into school and given a foster home after convincing social services she was a teen victim.
Her con followed similar false identity frauds in Ireland and Canada dating back to 2013.
Azzopardi convinced officials at Sydney’s Department of Families and Community Services that she was a trafficked girl named Harper Hart.
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She was placed into foster care and given money for medication.
A youth charity duped by her also forked out for an iPad, mobile phone and a travel card.
Her trial at Hornsby Local Court heard how before moving back to her native Australia, she conned authorities in Dublin.
She appeared in a distressed state at a post office and instead of speaking she drew pictures of herself being abuse by a group of men.
Irish officials later deported her but only after spending £200,000 on an investigation to uncover her true identity.
Azzopardi is known to have used more than 40 aliases, including Annika Dekker, Aurora Hepburn, Dakota Johnson, Lindsay Coughlin and Emily Peet.
During her travels she drew American tourist Emily Bamberger into her web of lies, leading to the teenager’s deportation from Australia.
“I was terrified,” Ms Bamberger told news.com.au as she detailed how Azzopardi convinced her she was a royal who had been kidnapped.
“It’s the strangest thing that’s ever happened to me. She knew my family, my addresses … I’ve never felt so scared”, she said.
Azzopardi this week pleaded guilty to four counts of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage.
She did not apply for bail on Thursday and will appear in court in video link on June 28.
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