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Serious Fraud Office investigating ring of serial fraudsters pretending to be All Blacks so they can take photos with tourists

An unwitting tourist with cultural facemask takes a picture with a man he sincerely believes to be an All Black.

An unwitting tourist with cultural facemask takes a picture with a man he sincerely believes to be an All Black.

In what the serious fraud office is describing as a “truly sick” case of stolen valour, a group of young but well-bodied men are travelling around New Zealand posing with tourists, pretending they’re real All Blacks.

While some tourists were immediately suspicious after not being able to identify the men, others were caught totally unawares, gleefully taking pictures with who they variously identified as Aaron Smith, Richie McCaw, and Jonah Lomu.

A spokesperson for the SFO said that while the men might’ve thought what they were doing was funny, the reality was it was “anything but.”

“Hundreds of peoples’ lives have been irreparably damaged by their actions, actions they cannot now take back,” he said. “These tourists, innocently thinking they were taking a picture with a famous All Black, have in many cases been horrified to find their prized picture featured nothing more than a random guy in an albeit-expensive All Blacks shirt.

“During our investigation, we have had to tell countless people ‘No, I’m afraid that’s not Ma’a Nonu,’ or ‘No, that’s not Jonah Lomu, he’s dead.’

“The look on their faces is enough to break your heart.”

One victim of the serial All Black impersonators, Luke George, said he was left distraught and penniless by their malicious actions.

“I was just out with my friends,” he recalls. “You know, Friday night, Queenstown, down for the weekend. We got pretty drunk, not going to lie. We were on our way back to the hostel, and this guy, we just stumble across this guy, and his friend, and he’s tall, like, he’s really tall. He’s wearing an All Blacks jersey and he really looks the part.

“And he’s just like ‘Hey, you recognise me, aye?’ And we’re like ‘Holy shit! It’s him, it’s that fuckin’ one, from the game.’ And he’s like ‘It’s okay guys, you can take a photo,’ so we ran up to him and we all got a photo with him, one by one. We were just so star struck, you know?”

George said it was only when he got back home and showed the picture to some of his older friends that he realised what had happened.

“I was just devastated,” he said. “I felt like such a fucking idiot. It wasn’t whatsitsface at all, it was just some guy.”

This began an ongoing spiral of depression for George, who said he felt violated by the experience. He lost his job, his girlfriend, and became an alcoholic.

The Serious Fraud Office says it’s cases like these that concern them the most.

“That kind of power in the wrong hands is a very dangerous thing,” said the SFO spokesperson. “There are men that fight hard to put on that jersey, devote their whole lives so they can earn the right to go around taking pictures with hapless idiots outside bars, and if we let just anyone do that, we may see the incentive to be an All Black evaporate altogether.”