A marriage broker convicted of scamming a Wellington man has been threatened with arrest unless she returns from Australia to face sentencing.
Li Jun Xue, 59, has paid back all of the $35,000 she was convicted of defauding from a man in his 50s who eventually realised the “bride” he was being set up with was already married.
Xue had been a witness at her wedding in Australia. The man was told that a divorce could be arranged if he paid another $10,000.
Xue was due for sentencing in the Christchurch District Court yesterday on the fraud charge after being found guilty at a judge-alone trial in June.
But for the second time, she provided medical information to defence counsel Alister James that she was too ill to travel because of high blood pressure. The sentencing was delayed in September for the same reason.
“How does an end get brought to all this?” Judge Tom Gilbert asked.
He said that even after paying the money back, Xue now faced a reparation bill of $2174 for the civil legal costs the victim paid before the case being a criminal prosecution. She is also likely to have to pay him some reparations for emotional harm.
Judge Gilbert accepted the police proposal that the case be remanded for one final time, for Xue to appear.
The judge said Xue could not be sentenced in her absence. “There is no way of bringing this matter to a conclusion unless she shows up. The court processes are being frustrated. If she doesn’t appear next time, then the inevitable result will have to be a warrant. Then, if she ever returns to New Zealand, the matter will be dealt with.”
Xue lives in Woollongong, south of Sydney. She was allowed to return to Australia on bail after her conviction on the fraud charge, but has apparently not set foot in New Zealand since. She was also threatened with an arrest warrant in September if she did not turn up yesterday.
She returned to Christchurch for earlier court appearances and for the trial.
The Wellington man contacted Xue through a newspaper advertisement in 2013 and eventually paid $35,000 and signed an agreement with Xue indicating it was a downpayment as a gift of marriage to a 54-year-old Singaporean woman named Jessica who he had been introduced to.
He later found out that she was a Malaysian who was already married to an Australian.
Xue’s sentencing is now set for January 25.