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Sydney conwoman Melissa Caddick’s shameless scam against her mates over a Thermomix

A decade before conwoman Melissa Caddick swindled a massive $23 million from investors, the notorious fraud cheated her friends out of a measly $50 in a shameless scam to avoid paying for a joint birthday present.

Caddick, 49, vanished from her Sydney mansion in November 2020, hours after authorities executed a search warrant on her Dover Heights home and revealed they had caught on to her Ponzi-style scheme.

Her detached and decomposing foot was found by campers on a NSW beach three months later, on February 21, leading police to believe Caddick had jumped from the cliffs near her home and drowned.

But long before Caddick was caught scamming millions to fund her lavish lifestyle, she had already perfected the art of fraud.

In the finale for the podcast Liar Liar: Melissa Caddick and the Missing Millions it was revealed the financial advisor scammed her friends out of $50 way back in 2012. 

A group of Caddick’s friends pooled funds to purchase a Thermomix – an all-in-one food processor and cooking machine, which range from $1500 to about $2500 – as a gift for a friend.

Everyone paid their share, except Caddick, prompting friends to chase her up. 

But when confronted, the fraudster asserted she had already sent through her contribution and the issue must have fallen with her friend’s bank.

She then provided the group with a doctored bank transferral statement to support her claim – which, like her victims’ fake Commsec trading accounts, was short of a digit.  

Melissa Caddick (pictured centre) fleeced friends of $50 in one of her petty early day forgeries

In another incident in December 2015, Caddick tried to trick an audio system company into compensating her $65,000 for purportedly faulty equipment, claiming it had cost her two high-priced temporary rental agreements of her Dover Heights home. 

A Thermomix (pictured) is an all in-one food processor and cooking device

A Thermomix (pictured) is an all in-one food processor and cooking device 

Len Wallis, the owner of an audio visual equipment business, said Caddick refused to pay the final $12,000 on her $122,000 bill after he received a call from an irate Caddick on Christmas Eve of that year.

Mr Wallis said Caddick complained a newly installed sound system wasn’t working.

After the discussion, Caddick sent Mr Wallis a scathing email saying her family were due to be leaving on a holiday to Aspen on Boxing Day and had intended to rent out their multi-million dollar mansion in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. 

However, she claimed both potential tenants – each spanning 10 days, with one costing $40,000 and the other $30,000 – had cancelled because they could not use the audio system. 

Caddick sent Mr Wallis invoices she had provided to the tenants as well as the two deposits they had each made into her account, with the names of both redacted for ‘privacy reasons’. 

The fraudster demanded Mr Wallis repay her the $65,000 she had to reimburse the would-be-leasers – despite his employees responding to her call out to service the supplies. 

But the documents Caddick sent were forged, with the lease agreements completely fictitious while the bank deposits actually showed transactions made by her investors.  

To fight the claims, Mr Wallis engaged lawyers and hired an investigator, who found the failure was sparked by Caddick’s husband Anthony Koletti interfering with the equipment.

Her claim was subsequently denied and Mr Wallis kindly supplied the family with a free replacement part for the broken mechanism, but he never received his last $12,000 payment. 

Len Willis (pictured) lost $12,000 to Caddick when she refused to pay the last instalment of a $122,000 bill in 2015

Len Willis (pictured) lost $12,000 to Caddick when she refused to pay the last instalment of a $122,000 bill in 2015

The redacted bank transfer statement Caddick sent to Wallis, which she claimed were made by prospective tenants - but were actually her investors

The redacted bank transfer statement Caddick sent to Wallis, which she claimed were made by prospective tenants – but were actually her investors 

Another forged document shows a fake invoice Caddick said showed her rental agreement

Another forged document shows a fake invoice Caddick said showed her rental agreement 

Caddick vanished from her mansion on November 12, 2020 – the day after ASIC investigators raided her home – owing more than $23million to 74 investors who entrusted her with their savings.

Her victims believed she was trading it on the stock market but instead she was squandering their funds on designer clothes, jewellery, overseas trips, multi-million dollar properties, and luxury cars.

The revelations come as her network of associates – including her former accountants and auditors – could face a class action from Caddick’s victims in a bid to recoup their lost funds. 

Caddick wrote off $200,000 a year she spent on opulent family holidays as travel for work as well as $24,000 splurged on magazines and articles as tools used to assist in the running of her business.  

Financial adviser Melissa Caddick is pictured with her husband Anthony Koletti in Aspen, Colorado, during a ski trip

Financial adviser Melissa Caddick is pictured with her husband Anthony Koletti in Aspen, Colorado, during a ski trip

None are believed to have been involved with or known about Caddick’s fraud, with liquidator Bruce Gleeson, who is tasked with reclaiming her victims’ funds, saying she ‘maintained and controlled’ all the information she passed on to advisers. 

‘She specifically, in our opinion, controlled who she wanted to give information to to prepare financial statements and tax returns,’ he said at a press conference in February 2021. 

Mr Gleeson also revealed Caddick was ‘insistent’ on using Microsoft Excel, which is prone to data entry manipulation in comparison to other accounting software. 

Daily Mail Australia does not suggest any of Caddick’s associates were involved or knew about her fraudulent activities. 

Despite Caddick providing accountants with falsified statements and the onus of doing such typically falling on the client, it is understood ASIC are now interested in chasing her auditors for negligence.

Of the $30million Caddick stole from investors, only $7million has ever been returned – and the likelihood of redeeming much of the funds remains slim.

Investigators have regained $52,400 left in her bank accounts, $2million worth of shares, and $324,000 from the sale of two luxury cars – an AudiR8 and Mercedes. 

The major assets yet to be sold are two properties – an Edgecliff unit and her Dover Heights Mansion, which both have mortgages totalling $6million plus overdue penalty payments dating back 18 months. 

Melissa Caddick's Dover Heights mansion (pictured) is yet to be sold to recuperate investors' lost funds

Melissa Caddick’s Dover Heights mansion (pictured) is yet to be sold to recuperate investors’ lost funds

Despite Mr Koletti claiming the Dover Heights property was worth $15-$17million, real estate agents said it’s likely the mansion will not sell for that price, as the property market begins to decline.

Mr Koletti left the mansion in May of this year, months after victims begged the court to put the Dover Heights up for sale.

Mr Koletti had also claimed his wife’s shares portfolio would be worth $7million, however Caddick was a poor investor and lost thousands of her victims’ dollars on the stock market. 

During Covid, when travel restrictions settled in, the holiday-enthusiast instead used her banked-up stolen funds on cryptocurrency and the stock exchange.

Kate Horn and her relatives, Caddick’s childhood friend and the first person to invest when her phony business Maliver launched in 2012, lost about $10million from Caddick over her eight-year ponzi scheme. 

For her 50th birthday, Ms Horn decided to hold a small event with only relatives, but says Caddick begged her to come declaring she was part of her family. 

Caddick pictured in the $2500 Dolce and Gabbana dress alongside her husband Anthony Koletti

Caddick pictured in the $2500 Dolce and Gabbana dress alongside her husband Anthony Koletti

Caddick turned up in a $2500 Dolce and Gabbana dress – bought with her investors funds – before schmoozing the guests, all who were directly or indirectly affected by her crimes. 

The garish frock was the only item of clothing that was not seized by ASIC investigators during the raid and was spotted on its own in the cupboard during Mr Koletti’s home interview with Channel 7. 

Ms Horn’s mother Anne, 78, lost her savings in the con and now lives on a tight budget that impacts every aspect of her life. 

‘Everything you do, you think, can I be affording this? Or should I be doing this? Even grocery shopping. I think before I buy clothes…and no, I won’t have a wine tonight,’ she said.

Ms Horn said the deceit would be easy to comprehend if Caddick suffered a ‘brain snap’ and stole the money, but was instead made ‘chilling’ by the scammer’s cold and callous demeanour.

Caddick mysteriously vanished in November and wasn't seen or heard from again until February the following year when her severed foot washed up on a South Coast beach

Caddick mysteriously vanished in November and wasn’t seen or heard from again until February the following year when her severed foot washed up on a South Coast beach

‘I was working every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights – 10 hour shifts. I had no social life,’ she told the podcast.

‘They were the best paid shifts. It was hard on my body, but I thought that is what I was doing for my future. But the fact she knew that and she continued to be deceitful was just heartbreaking. 

‘I would tell her thank you for helping me and my family and Melissa would smile and shrug off my gratitude. It was chilling. 

‘She would look me in the eye and say, “that is just what I do”.’

An inquest into Caddick’s disappearance and suspected death will be held in September.

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk