Samantha Azzopardi, 32, was hired by parents who thought she was a qualified au pair, but in reality, she was a career conwoman.
In 2019, Azzopardi strolled through the regional Victorian town of Bendigo dressed as a schoolgirl, pretending to be a 14-year-old pregnant student.
She had a 10-month-old baby strapped to her chest, but the child was not hers and neither was the four-year-old girl walking behind them.
The conwoman had stolen the sisters from their parents after convincing the French nationals she was a qualified nanny, promising to take the girls on a picnic to the You Yangs.
The homeless woman was today jailed for child stealing and other crimes a magistrate described as “bizarre”.
In February 2019, she claimed to be a modelling talent scout called Marley.
She tricked a family into letting their daughter fly with her to Sydney. During that trip, Azzopardi told the girl to go into Centrelink and write on a piece of paper she was “seeing ghosts”.
The previous year, Azzopardi pretended to be a wealthy American teenager called Harper Hernandez.
She duped Australian basketballer Tom Jervis into hiring her as an au pair, before she was busted stealing Jervis’ wife’s driver’s licence and an iPad.
Azzopardi’s offending was not financially motivated, a psychiatrist instead finding the “profoundly disturbed woman” created new identities to escape her own traumatic childhood.
The fake nanny never physically harmed any of her victims. But their parents have been left traumatised by Azzopardi’s betrayal.
Azzopardi was sentenced to two years’ prison, but because she has already spent so much time in custody, she can immediately apply to the parole board to be released back into the community.
Without proper mental health treatment, her risk of reoffending is considered to be high.