It was revealed earlier this year that the high-profile disappearance of Sydney con-artist Melissa Caddick would be transformed into an TV series set to air next year.
And on Wednesday, the cast were seen filming Channel Nine’s upcoming drama for the very first time in Sydney’s Dover Heights – the same area Caddick used to live.
Stunning Wentworth actress Kate Atkinson, 49 – who will play the lead role of Caddick – appeared sombre and stern as she filmed scenes alongside veteran Australian actor Colin Friels.
Filming begins: On Wednesday, the Underbelly: Vanishing Act cast were seen filming the Nine’s upcoming series for the first time in Dover Heights, Sydney – the same area Caddick used to live. Pictured: Kate Atkinson, who plays Melissa (centre) and actor Colin Friels (left)
While it was revealed earlier in the year that Atkinson had landed the lead role, it can be said that her strikingly beautiful facial features are remarkably different to that of Caddick’s.
It is yet to be confirmed who Friels will play in the drama.
In the scenes, Atkinson was dressed in a formal red blouse and high-waisted black trousers – not unlike something high-rolling fraudster Melissa would have worn in the years prior to her disappearance.
She wore her hair in a slicked-back straight style, and accessorised with some pearl earrings.
Lead role: Wentworth actress Kate Atkinson, 49 who will play the lead of Caddick in the highly anticipated series, appeared sombre and stern during filming
Different: While it was revealed earlier in the year that Atkinson had landed the lead role, it can be said that her strikingly beautiful facial features are remarkably different to that of Melissa Caddick’s (left)
Smart: In the scenes, Atkinson was dressed in a formal red blouse and high-waisted black trousers – not unlike something high-rolling con-woman Melissa would have worn in the years prior to her disappearance
Style: She wore her hair in a slicked-back straight style, and accessorised with some pearl earrings
Kate was also spotted wearing a tracksuit, including burgundy leggings and a black hoodie. It’s not known if this look was part of filming, or prior to it.
A dog was also present on-set, similar to one Caddick had been pictured with on social media in the past.
Friels stood feet behind Atkinson as they filmed in the picturesque setting, wearing a blue T-shirt and grey trousers for the occasion.
Other cast members were seen walking around on-set, while an abundance of masked-up crew were seen discussing the scenes while surrounded by technical equipment.
Change of look: Kate was also spotted wearing a tracksuit, including burgundy leggings and a black hoodie. It’s not known if this look was part of the scenes, or prior to it
Cute: A dog was also present on-set, similar to one Caddick had been pictured with on social media in the past
Sombre: Colin Friels stood feet behind Atkinson as they filmed in the picturesque setting, wearing a blue T-shirt and grey trousers for the occasion
Other confirmed actors onboard for the production include Tai Hara from Home and Away, as well as Maya Stange, Sophie Bloom and Ursula Mills.
Melissa Caddick, 49, is missing presumed dead, having last been seen alive in November 2020 – and only one of her limbs was ever found.
The financial conwoman scammed 60 clients out of at least $23milion, mostly from family and friends over a number of years, before ASIC raided her $6.8 million Dover Heights home, in Sydney’s east.
Star-studded: Other confirmed actors on board for the production include Tai Hara from Home and Away as well as Maya Stange, Sophie Bloom and Ursula Mills
In scenes reminiscent of a Hollywood blockbuster, Ms Caddick’s foot was then found by campers at Bournda Beach on February 21, south of Tathra on the NSW south coast, with NSW police then declaring her dead.
The shoe also located was a unique ASICS sneaker – which Ms Caddick had previously been seen wearing – can only be purchased in Israel.
Further bodily remains of Ms Caddick have never been located, and she was farewelled at a private service in April.
Her first known swindle was petty embezzlement in 1998, with her silver tongue often resulting in her talking her way out of trouble – until last year.
Bustling set: Other cast members were seen walking around on-set
Action: An abundance of masked-up crew were seen discussing the scenes while surrounded by technical equipment
Ms Caddick’s crime was a detailed Ponzi scheme involving 60 friends and family, totalling $30 million – only $7 million of which was ever repaid. The rest of the money vanished.
Creating an impression of success became an essential part of Ms Caddick’s modus operandi.
Her immaculate presentation was designed to ensure people saw her as professional and overlooked her habitual dishonesty.
From 2012 onwards, after creating her finance company Maliver, it was common for her to tell interested clients who approached her that she was ‘too busy’ to help them – then later tell them they were in luck, somehow finding time for their business.
New project: It was announced earlier this year that Kate Atkinson would be starring as Melissa Caddick in the upcoming series
The brochure she handed out for Maliver lied about her credentials as she was not a certified financial planner and did not have a masters of business.
The business operated using someone else’s Australian Financial Services Licence. Once she had their money, she created a fake CommSec share trading account for each client.
Where she needed to, she forged not only clients’ signatures but also that of the nearest available justice of the peace – her father-in-law Rodo Koletti.
She emailed clients a fake monthly report claiming stunning returns of up to 30 per cent, which convinced them to invest more with her, and to get her more word-of-mouth business.
Many of Caddick’s victims lost their life savings.
Pictured: Melissa Caddick with her first husband Tony Caddick (pictured right) – they had a child together who was living with Ms Caddick when she disappeared
She stole from childhood friends and their families, her personal trainer, her employees and surgeons in Perth.
When ASIC investigators raided Caddick’s home last November, they confiscated dozens of expensive designer label dresses, handbags, and shoes.
Her scams began to unravel when a client did due diligence on documents provided to them and the woman whose Australian Financial Services Licence she used notified ASIC – which is believed to have been November 2019.
ASIC recorded the complaint but took no action at that time.
Another complaint in June 2020 contained more detail and ASIC applied to the Federal Court to freeze her assets and seize her passport.
Soon after ASIC knocked on her door, Ms Caddick promptly disappeared to permanently evade justice.
In October, Caddick’s husband denied she rorted her clients and ripped off their friends and family, despite the overwhelming evidence.
Grim discovery: Ms Caddick’s shoe was found by campers at Bournda Beach on February 21, south of Tathra on the NSW south coast, with NSW police then declaring her dead
Anthony Koletti, 39, insisted his wife was not a ‘cold-hearted fraudster’ but instead a victim of a rouge investigation by Australia’s financial watchdog.
The rollerblading hairdresser in a bombshell interview on Seven News Spotlight claimed Caddick was likely murdered by an angry investor.
But he laid all blame at the feet of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission for raiding her home the night before she vanished on November 12.
Mr Koletti claimed the fraud investigation either enraged an investor who wrongly believed she swindled their money, or made her so distraught she took her own life.
Following the dramatic police raid and a subsequent 14-hour search at their multi-million home, the two laid in bed together exhausted and confused.
‘She went straight to sleep but I was up until 4am,’ he said.
‘I just held her. I just felt I had to console her so we just cuddled and spooned.
‘I said goodnight I love you.’
Mr Koletti insisted his wife couldn’t be guilty because she had ‘no reason to steal’ as she already ‘had everything she wanted’.
He showed the TV cameras around his wife’s office where the raid took place, still with an immaculate filing system including a draw marked ‘Melissa to do’.
‘ASIC took all the files, all the receipts, everything like that… so really I feel like she had no foot to stand on,’ he said, in an unfortunate slip of the tongue.
Family: Her partner Anthony Koletti (pictured left) was believed to be unaware of Ms Caddick’s illegal conduct. In October, he denied she rorted her clients and ripped off their friends and family, despite the overwhelming evidence