Immigration New Zealand has stymied the sentencing of a marriage scam fraudster for the second time by refusing her entry into the country.
The sentencing was meant to happen in the Christchurch District Court on Tuesday, but 60-year-old Li Jun Xue was still in Australia after being refused a visitor’s visa.
Instead, the sentencing will have to go ahead Xue appearing by video-link from Sydney on June 23.
Judge Tom Gilbert indicated he might order an emotional harm reparation payment to the victim and a fine, since a financial penalty was the only practical sentence that could be enforced for someone outside New Zealand.
READ MORE: * Man paid $35,000 for ‘Singaporean’ bride got already married Malaysian woman * Former Christchurch marriage broker denied entry to New Zealand for sentencing
When she is sentenced, it will be a year and a day since
Xue was found guilty on June 22, 2016, after a judge-alone trial on a charge of obtaining $35,000 by deception.
She had arranged a newspaper advertisement offering a woman for companionship and possible marriage.
An older Wellington man answered the ad and paid $35,000 before learning the 45-year-old woman he had been introduced to was already married. Xue and a man described as her husband had been witnesses at her wedding in Woollongong.
The scam victim was then told a divorce could be arranged if he paid another $10,000.
Xue lives in Australia and was allowed to return there on bail. She has repaid the $35,000 to the victim since the trial.
Xue tried to return to Christchurch in January for a scheduled sentencing, but defence counsel Alister James explained that Immigration New Zealand had told Qantas she would not be allowed into New Zealand because of her fraud conviction. She was unable to board the aircraft.
She has now been declined a visitor’s visa on the grounds that she does not have the funds to support herself while in New Zealand. James said that was unusual, and the visa application did not have any section on it that required those details. She had agreed to be sentenced by video-link instead.
Judge Gilbert said it was the fourth time Xue’s sentencing had been scheduled, but he accepted “she has tried hard to return to put an end to this matter”. He said he had looked at the legislation and believed he was entitled to conduct a video-link sentencing with someone overseas.
“This has been dragging on for a fair while so I want to make sure it happens.”