TV3 says it was unaware that a New Zealand man accused of stealing more than A$16m from Queensland Health was facing charges when he got a mention on its show The GC.
The broadcaster today confirmed that the "part-Maori Tahitian prince'' mentioned on last night's episode of The GC was accused fraudster Hohepa Morehu-Barlow.
The show's bisexual star, Arapita 'Alby' Waititi (a second cousin of film-maker Taika) was shown early in the episode being coerced by two of the female stars of the show, Jessi and Rosanna to go on a blind date with the "Tahitian prince''.
They described Morehu-Barlow as having recently "come out'' and said he was "probably a nice guy.''
The 'prince' never showed on the date, leaving Alby lost and looking for love.
The show's main character, Tame, said Alby has not been on a date for two and a half years, "bloody long time that one,'' he said.
TV3 spokeswoman Rachel Lorimer said today that the `Tahitian prince' was Morehu-Barlow but at the time of filming his fraud allegations were unknown.
She said that Morehu-Barlow's appearance - or lack thereof - was not organised by the show's producers but he was a "friend of a friend of a friend," of Jessi and Rosanna.
Ms Lorimer described the girls' connection with Morehu-Barlow as "tenuous".
Morehu-Barlow, a New Zealander, is accused of fleecing more than $A16 million from Queensland Health, his former employer. He reportedly passed himself off as a Tahitian prince to friends and colleagues while living the high life in Brisbane.
Barlow, also known as Joel Barlow, was arrested in December and is alleged to have defrauded the government department while working there between 2007 and 2011.
His charges include two counts of aggravated fraud, two of aggravated forgery, one of aggravated uttering, two of possessing dangerous drugs, one of possessing a relevant substance and one of possessing drug utensils.
The 36-year-old was committed earlier this year to stand trial in the District Court in Brisbane at a later date.
- APNZBy Brendan Manning