Con Girl Paramount Samantha Azzopardi
True Crime

Con Girl on Paramount+: The disturbing tale of serial con artist Samantha Azzopardi

She's the Australian Anna Delvey - but why did she lie?

| Updated:

Con Girl on Paramount+ tells the stranger than fiction tale of serial con artist Samantha Azzopardi – who duped hundreds of victims with her scams.

Like Netflix’s Inventing Anna, all about fake heiress Anna Sorokin, Con Girl unravels the chilling tale of a girl who LIED about being trafficked seemingly for attention.

But why did she do it? And where is she now?

Here’s everything you need to know…

Actresses recreate one of Samantha Azzopardi's scams
Samantha Azzopardi posed as Emily Sciberras with her so-called friend Hope (Credit: Paramount)

What is Con Girl on Paramount+ about?

Con Girl brings to life the truly disturbing story of serial con artist Samantha Azzopardi.

The dramatisation stars Emma Krieg as the convicted criminal.

The four-part series uses victim testimony and reconstructions to show how Samantha used “75 aliases, in three continents” over a period of a decade.

For the first time, Samantha’s victims speak out about the trauma they suffered after her deception.

The Con Girl box set lands on Paramount+ on Wednesday, February 22, 2023.

Con Girl on Paramount+ – who is Samantha Azzopardi?

Samantha Lyndell Azzopardi was born on August 21 1988, in Campbelltown, Australia.

She was born into a middle-class family, and grew up in western Sydney, Australia

She is of Maltese heritage, and attended Mount Annan High School.

However, from a teenager, Samantha began a life of lies and deceit.

She went on to become one of the most prolific scammers of recent years.

The Australian has assumed dozens of false identities, all for attention and her own gain.

The real Samantha Azzopardi
Con Girl on Paramount+ – the real Samantha Azzopardi (Credit: Paramount)

What were Samantha Azzopardi’s greatest scams?

Police first heard of Samantha Azzopardi in Rockhampton, Australia, in November 2007 when she was 19.

At that time, she claimed to be actress Dakota Johnson.

Police charged her with intent to defraud.

Three years later, she tried to enrol in several schools in Brisbane, posing as a student…

However, the school subsequently rejected her after her reference letter was found to be fraudulent.

She went on to make up bigger lies, each time more elaborate…

In September 2014, now aged 26, Samantha Azzopardi walked into a health centre in Calgary in Canada.

There, she claimed her name was Aurora Hepburn and said she was the victim of sexual assault and abduction at the hands of a cult.

Police later charged her with public mischief, and two months detention, before deporting her back to Australia.

In late 2016, she enrolled at the Good Shepherd School at Marrickville in New South Wales.

She claimed to be a 13-year old named Harper Hart.

In October 2019, she moved in with a French couple in Melbourne, claiming to be an 18-year-old au pair called Saskia.

A year later, she told the parents she was taking the two children on a picnic…

Instead, she took them to a mental health unit in Bendigo, claiming to be a 14-year old who had been abused by her uncle.

Police subsequently charged her with child stealing, theft and property deception.

Her other pseudonyms ranged from Russian gymnast Emily Sciberras, who told her new best friend Hope that her entire family had been killed in a murder-suicide.

And Laylah, who convinced a French backpacker to carry out a series of so-called pranks, implicating the innocent woman in a child kidnapping case.

In 2019, Samantha posed as a talent agent, traumatising an innocent young girl.

Who was the GPO Girl in 2013?

Perhaps her most audacious scam was when she was found outside the General Post Office in Dublin in October 2013.

She became world famous at the time as ‘GOP Girl’, when she was found wandering the streets of Dublin in Ireland.

A member of the public found her wandering up and down and, apparently, unable to speak English.

Through stilted communications, the police believed that she was the victim of sex trafficking and was around 14 years of age.

However, she was eventually identified as Samantha Azzopardi.

At the time, opinion with the Garda Síochána (the Irish Police) was divided.

Some maintained that she had not committed a crime, others wanted her charged for wasting police time.

The real Samantha Azzopardi
Samantha Azzopardi was a serial con artist who wasted police time and money (Credit: Paramount)

Who appears in the Con Girl series on Paramount+ about Samantha Azzopardi?

Several of Samantha’s victims speak for the first time in Con Girl on Paramount+.

Key contributors include Hope, who met Samantha – posing as Emily Sciberras – after enrolling at the local community college in Perth in 2011.

‘Emily’ told Hope that she was originally from Russia, and a champion gymnast.

She set up a detailed story that her parents and twin sister had died in a murder suicide.

Hope and her family offered to adopt her, and Hope finally had the sister she always wanted…

However, when Hope discovered that teenage Emily was 23-year-old con woman Samantha Azzopardi, she was devastated.

Meanwhile, Californian backpacker Emmy was just 18 when she travelled to Australia for her first big overseas trip.

In a Sydney hostel in 2014, Emmy met Swedish heiress Annika Dekker, who was only 14 years old and travelled the world under the protection of Interpol.

Of course, Annika was in fact 25-year-old Australian Samantha Azzopardi.

French backpacker Lucie tells of her ordeal after meeting ‘child psychologist Laylah Evans’.

Also, Georgia and Mel describe how they were duped by ‘talent scout Coco Palmer’.

Working mum of four Carnie also details how ’17-year-old nanny Harper Hernandez’ offered her services as an au pair…

Why did she con people?

Although the documentary is a fascinating watch, we’re still no nearer knowing why the serial con artist did what she did.

Her motives remain a mystery.

Samantha didn’t physically hurt anyone and rarely stole from them.

She’s not in it for the money, although the emotional and psychological toll she takes on the lives of her victims is often devastating.

Some psychiatric assessments have concluded that she is not mentally ill.

Australian forensic psychiatrist doctor Jacqueline Rakov spent time with Samantha for multiple assessments in 2021.

Rakov diagnosed Samantha as suffering borderline personality disorder and a rare phenomenon called Pseudologia Fantastica.

Pseudologia Fantastica manifests itself in compulsive lying, internally motivated by her fantasies to recreate a happy childhood narrative.

Hope was one of Samantha Azzopardi's victims
Hope was one of Samantha Azzopardi’s victims (Credit: Paramount)

Con Girl on Paramount+ – what was Samantha Azzopardi’s childhood?

Australian journalist Sharon Davis has pieced together Samantha’s life.

Her mother and father split up when she was about two, and she lived with her mother up until about 11 when her father regained custody.

She moved around a lot and attended many different schools, where she started inventing past histories for herself.

In 2014, unbeknownst to her dad, Samantha was claiming to be the unacknowledged daughter of Princess Madeleine of Sweden.

When Samantha abruptly left their house, the father found a large amount of cash in her wardrobe.

Her family do not feature in Con Girl Girl on Paramount+.

Where is Samantha Azzopardi now?

Samantha Azzopardi is now 34 years of age.

At the time of filming the Paramount+ documentary, she was serving a 17-month sentence.

Police jailed her in May 2021 for at least 12 months.

A judge convicted her of stealing two children after being hired as a nanny under a false name.

She lied about being a victim of sexual assault in Sydney just two months after she was released.

At the time of her sentencing, the court heard that Samantha was living with anxiety, depression, and established borderline personality disorder.

Police documents detailed how “the accused posed a significant risk to the community”.

In August 2022, police charged Samantha with her 100th offence after she pretended to be a 14-year-old French victim of sex trafficking.

Samantha Azzopardi did not appear in Waverley Court on Friday when her lawyer entered a guilty plea to knowingly making a false representation to police that she was a victim of child neglect.

The court heard that she “is a compulsive liar who suffers a number of mental health illnesses which no doubt is a catalyst for her offending”.

The court heard Azzopardi “is a compulsive liar who suffers a number of mental health illnesses which no doubt is a catalyst for her offending”.

Her lawyer Richard Ikaafu told the court the facts indicated his client had severe personality disorder and schizophrenia.

Samantha is currently appealing her 17-month sentence.

YouTube video player

Con Girl is currently streaming on Paramount+.

Do you find Samantha Azzopardi’s crimes as chilling as we do? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix.

Helen Fear
TV Editor