true crime

Jazze and Tom welcomed au pair Harper into their family. She was actually a con artist.

When Jazze and Tom Jervis employed their au pair in July last year, they had no idea she’d been released from prison the month before and was in fact 14 years older than she said she was.

The Jervises were living in Brisbane with their two-year-old daughter Clementine, when they found Harper Hernandez on Au Pairs Australia.

The “17-year-old” was in Melbourne at the time, so the family met her over Facetime.

Jazze jervis
Tom, Jazze and Clementine Jervis. Image: Supplied.

"She was fine. She said she was 17 and she seemed that way. She said all the right things... there were no alarm bells at all," Jazze told Mamamia.

Harper blended smoothly into their family life. She knew all of their friends and relatives, she was great with Clementine, and she even moved with the family down to Melbourne.

"I treated her like my daughter," said Jazze. "She was a part of the family."

The only thing she found a bit odd about Harper was that the teenager didn't want to be in any photos - in fact she'd avoid them at all costs.

Samatha-Azzopardi
This is one of the only photos in existence of "Harper." Image: Jazze Jervis.
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She'd told the Jervises she'd gone to boarding school in Dubai, and that her father was a pilot and her mother was a lawyer in San Francisco.

"That was the gist of it [what she told us about her family], I didn't probe anymore," Jazze told Mamamia. 

After living with the family for six months, she flew home to the States to spend Christmas with her family.

It was at this point the Jervises began suspecting Harper might not be telling them the whole truth.

She started posting photos of herself in mansions, on yachts, and flying in helicopters.

"Who is this girl?" Tom and Jazze found themselves asking.

They started to wonder if perhaps her family was just really rich.

"We tried to research her and look for her name and we couldn't find any information. We thought maybe she was high profile enough that she could vanish," Jazze said.

"We didn't consider her to be dangerous, so we didn't look into it any further because we didn't want to invade her privacy."

And so the months wore on, and the Jervises got on with life.

At one point Tom received a weird message from someone in Perth saying a person claiming to be married to him was trying to get free stuff in his name.

But as Tom's a well-known professional basketball player and Jazze has more than 12,000 followers online, they didn't think anything of it.

"It's not the first time we've received a weird message," said Jazze.

 

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[ Tom’s Top Tips ] So it’s not secret that the hubs is a bit of an oil fan. In fact, he was the one that did our first order (On Guard, Easy Air and Ice Blue Rub ????). Yep, #NegativeNancy right here ????????‍♀️ . Here are his Top 10 recipes and ways to use his oils ???????? . ???? Easy Air & Peppermint: lots of uses for these two! He uses a roller with 10 drops each topped with FCO and applies that to his chest prior to training and games to open airways. You can also use both of them for snoring (roll on chest and under big toe) and sinus pressure (put finger on top of Easy Air or Peppermint bottle and then rub residue along bridge of nose). ???? 10ml roller blend of 10 drops Ice Blue, 10 drops Frankincense, 5 drops AromaTouch, topped with FCO: used every morning on his knees and any sore muscles. ????????‍♀️ Head tension remedy: Peppermint on temples and Frankincense held to roof of mouth (put thumb on top of bottle to get the residue) for about 10 seconds. Repeat every 15 minute until relief. You can also put a drop under your tongue (which also helps with anxious feelings). ???????????????? Sexy Time: any combination of Ylang Ylang, Bergamot, Cinnamon, Lime and Patchouli in the diffuser will do just fine. His fave is Ylang Ylang and Neroli applied to me and applied to him, lol ???? ???? Beard balm: he loves the @theinspiredlittlepot recipe. We use a 200g tin (I think it’s from @_diffusional_ and you can get ingredients from there), 80g FCO, 70g shea butter, 50g beeswax, 30 drops Lime, 10 drops Lavender, 10 drops Rosemary. Apply to beard once per day! . Hubby not on board yet? Requesting a Christmas present? Get tagging, girl ???????? . #TheCalmCompound . ???? @hipster_mum ???? @designerstylelist

A post shared by Jazze Jervis - Holistic Health (@thecalmcompound) on

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Then in May, Jazze got a message from a group of girls who said they'd seen Clementine with a girl called "Marly" who had claimed to be married to Tom Jervis and was a casting agent.

When Harper got home they confronted her, and she got really defensive. But she managed to talk herself out of the lie with a crazy convoluted story.

"We knew... we knew she'd lied to us. It just didn't make any sense," Jazze said.

The family told Harper in June - a year after they hired her - that they no longer needed her services. A week later they dropped her at the airport, she'd told them she was headed to Perth to stay with her grandparents.

But 17-year-old Harper had been lying.

The Jervises believe Harper was actually 31-year-old serial con woman Samantha Azzopardi who has more than 40 aliases and been in prison for a year for posing as a 13-year-old girl, to get admission into a high school.

She'd pleaded guilty to four charges of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage where she gained education, food and accommodation.

In fact, Samantha Azzopardi has a long history of scamming authorities and families across three continents, having previously posed as a sex-trafficking victim in Canada and Ireland.

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SAMANTHA AZZOPARDI FILE
This is a photo supplied by the National Police Service of Ireland who were investigating Samantha for crimes in their country. Image: AAP.

"We felt a little bit violated. We felt shocked, but because of all the little things that happened it's almost not a shock," Jazze told Mamamia.

In hindsight, it was Samantha who'd been pretending to be married to Tom trying to get free stuff.

She'd also been posing as a fake casting agent.

She'd also been dropping little white lies, like being "allergic to cane sugar". Jazze found lolly wrappers in her bed after she left and realised that had also been a fib.

But last Thursday, Jazze realised it was much more serious than lies. Samantha had been using her identity.

Samantha had flown an unsuspecting family from Sydney to Melbourne using the name "Coco" with the promise of modelling work for their 13-year-old.

In a bizarre series of events, the Bevege family claims Coco had their daughter physically clean international currency and rehearse strange roles that included playing a girl whose sister had died.

It was only when they were checking something at their accommodation's front desk that they realised their rooms had been booked under the name "Jazze Jervis."

They contacted her right away.

Here is a video the Bevege family shared with Jazze, where they revealed Samantha's deception. Post continues after video.

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"I had given her a bank card for emergencies, for picking up groceries, running errands that kind of thing. There was only 50 dollars or so on it at a time, but it had my name on it," Jazze told Mamamia.

Jazze said the police had told her Samantha had been caught a few times for petty crimes (like stealing from Kmart). She'd told police she was 17, and had been using Jazze's bank card as her "ID".

When Jazze started posting about Samantha on her social media, a woman around the corner from her Brighton East home got in contact to reveal she also nearly hired "Harper".

When the women compared notes they realised Samantha had told them very similar stories but with different details.

"She told her she'd gone to boarding school in Switzerland for example," Jazze explained. While being interviewed by Jazze and Tom, it was Dubai.

"Another person in Melbourne responded to a Gumtree ad for a voiceover in a Pixar film. She was flown to Sydney," Jazze said of another dupe she'd been made aware of.

The examples are endless.

"It's an entire operation happening across the country," Jazze told Mamamia. "Recently, she's been trying to get au pair jobs in and around the bayside (Melbourne) area."

Jazze is determined to spread the word about Samantha, who is still at large.

"She's been uncovered in a way this time she's never been uncovered before," she told Mamamia.

"If anyone sees her, call the police they can arrest her," she said.

Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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