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Charmer is alleged to have smiled in victims' faces

A list of charges against an alleged conman reveals a trail of fine dining, clothes and accommodation worthy of an A-list celebrity.

Those who believed they were hosting a chef to the stars of Hollywood may be feeling more than a little let down by the slew of allegations presented to court this week.

David Nepia Carroll is accused of spinning "hard-luck stories" and working his charm on accommodation providers and others before skipping out without paying, or helping himself to their things.


Police say he took cash and bank cards, which he used to withdraw money, and also allege he helped himself to cars and expensive clothes.

The biggest item was a new $90,000 Audi Q5; the smallest were towels and containers for sugar, tea and coffee from a Hamilton motel, valued at $32.

All these allegations are included in 58 pages of charges laid against Carroll, although that number could still grow.

Alleged victims have described Carroll to the Herald on Sunday as a friendly, charming, camp gay man. He'd enjoy meals and drinks with his hosts, sometimes he'd take them to dinner and talk of his life as a chef to the stars and his split from his Greek "husband".

In August, when opposing bail, police said: "The majority of victims are hard-working, trusting members of the community who, unfortunately, have fallen for his hard-luck stories and charm."

Carroll, 41, is also known as Sam Palmer. Other aliases have an "upper class ring", including James Staniford-Smith, Wade Summers and Bradley Packer-Hill.

Carroll has been remanded in prison since last month while police built their case, gathering files and statements from victims from Ruakaka near Whangarei to Paekakariki near Wellington. This week, Carroll appeared in Auckland District Court via audio-visual link. He had been expected to plead, but his case was put off until next month because more charges are still to be laid.

The existing charges included skipping out without paying for 15 nights' accommodation at seven places; using an 89-year-old's eftpos card to withdraw $8000; taking four cars ranging from a $750 Nissan to the $90,000 Audi Q5; taking two laptops; 29 counts of withdrawing cash using unlawfully obtained credit, debit, eftpos cards and cheques; theft of clothes, including an $800 leather jacket, suede shoes, Italian leather loafers, Oakley sunglasses and a black cardigan with a total value of $1000; and taking $900 in cash.

Carroll was arrested on August 10 after Henry Woodhouse, son of Piha Black Sands Lodge co-owner Julia Woodhouse, spotted him in a Herne Bay bar and phoned police.