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Fraudster thrown out of Australia

NZ Newswire, Sunday, June 5, 2016

A 63-year-old New Zealand grandmother who defrauded an elderly dementia sufferer and travelled around the world on the proceeds is being kicked out of Australia.

Francesca Marzella, who has no family in New Zealand and is seriously ill from Crohn’s Disease, has failed to overturn a decision by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to refuse her a bridging visa.

Marzella, who had lived in Australia since the 1980s, was released from prison on parole last year.

She had been jailed for five years for fraud after selling a house she said was given to her by an elderly woman she had befriended.

She sold it for A$ 350,000 (NZ$ 370,586), transferred it overseas and then flew to London and Spain, allegedly using false passports.

When she returned to Australia in 2008 she was arrested at the border.

Despicable offending

She was granted bail and fled – but only to Coffs Harbour, where she lived for about six years – before police caught up with her again and she was jailed.

The courts described her offending – taking advantage of vulnerable people – as ‘despicable.’

Administrative Appeals Tribunal member Bernard McCabe said that Marzella’s crime and the threat of further fraud means she cannot stay in Australia.

Fraud did not require a lot of physical stamina, he said.

“It requires a degree of charm and an unthreatening appearance. Ms Marzella certainly has all of that.”

He admitted it would be hard on her family, but said they could move to New Zealand with her if they wanted.

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