How woman ‘dodged bullet’ with Caddick

 

A woman who nearly invested money with missing fraudster Melissa Caddick decided against it after meeting up with her and feeling something was "a little off".

The Sydney woman said she had met to discuss potential investments with Caddick over lunch after the pair exchanged text messages.

In the messages, Caddick told the woman she had private clients and was happy to discuss fees and her service, saying it was all "very transparent", the Saturday Telegraph reported.

But when the woman, who wished to remain anonymous, told Caddick "we understand trading" and asked the Dover Heights woman her own trading strategy she said "we got a very odd response".

The woman decided not to hand over her money, and now feels she "dodged a bullet".

The woman also now subscribes to the theory Caddick was "abducted" and was tied to a large criminal cartel.

"She is not the type to suicide and she is not that mischievous or particularly ingenious to come up with the financial scheme idea on her own," the woman said.

Former friends who went to school with Ms Caddick told The Daily Telegraph they last saw Caddick at their 30th reunion in 2018.

Caddick wore designer clothes and her dark curly hair from schooldays was straight and sleek.

"I presumed she had married very well … someone quiet well off, because she had been on a lot of overseas holidays and drove a nice car," one former school friend said.

Caddick's humble background as a schoolgirl growing up in Sydney suburbia has been uncovered.

As Melissa Grimley, she was one of two children, of Barbara and Ted Grimley who lived most of their married lives in the Georges River region in southern Sydney.

Luxury designer wear-addicted Melissa Caddick (above with husband Anthony Koletti) came from a humble family in Sydney’s southern suburbs.
Luxury designer wear-addicted Melissa Caddick (above with husband Anthony Koletti) came from a humble family in Sydney’s southern suburbs.

But the quiet, unremarkable schoolgirl - who is now being described as the "con artist of the century" - had begun fleecing clients, some observers believe, as far back as 2009.

As recently as just over five years ago, Caddick's oblivious parents were still living in the George River district of Sydney where they were valued community members.

Their savvy financial daughter was likely already conducting labyrinthine computer scams on investors.

But the Grimleys were themselves only just coming to grips with the internet.

Ted Grimley was a long term member of the Lugarno Lions Club.

Barbara was a passionate practitioner of Tai Chi and had even become a teacher at a local club in Narwee.

They were devoted grandparents to their daughter's son, then aged about 10, the child of Melissa's first marriage to an investment fund lawyer.

The Grimleys could be justifiably proud of the achievements of both their children, Melissa and Adam, or so it seemed.

In late 2015, the Grimleys attended an "Internet Basics" course at Hurstville Seniors Computer Club, where retirees were learning Windows 7, the transition to Windows 10 still a leap into the future.

Caddick’s mother Barbara with Caddick’s son in 2009, when he was aged around four years old. Picture: Alan Place.
Caddick’s mother Barbara with Caddick’s son in 2009, when he was aged around four years old. Picture: Alan Place.

Just a year earlier, daughter Melissa had bought a $6.2m house in an upcoming street in the swanky Eastern Suburbs.

She had married for a second time a year before that, to a hairdresser she had met in a Bondi Junction salon.

It was a lot to pay for a house but Melissa, after all, appeared to be doing so well.

The Grimleys had always lived in relatively modest homes in Georges River suburbs since rearing their children there.

Melissa had gone to Lugarno Public and then Peakhurst High.

School photos show a plain-faced woolly-haired teenager, who looks a far cry from the sleek woman in designer brands and expensive jewellery she was to become.

Both the Grimley's kids had done well, son Adam becoming a consultant in Singapore and Melissa founding Wise Financial Services while in her early 30s.

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She would become the managing director of SalesXecution, a self-described "nationally recognised thought leader in the convergence of social media, sales performance and marketing".

SalesXecution was streets ahead of the humble computer skills of the Grimleys, boasting a decade of "working with emerging internet communication … world class sales and marketing leaders".

By 2013, however, SaleXecution was retreating into the background in favour of Melissa Caddick's new company Maliver, a name believed to be based on that of a family member.

Caddick began investing in the shares of small companies, many newly-listed mining and biology firms.

Caddick’s husband Anthony Koletti and brother Adam Grimley arrived back at the luxury mansion from which she vanished. Picture: Richard Dobson.
Caddick’s husband Anthony Koletti and brother Adam Grimley arrived back at the luxury mansion from which she vanished. Picture: Richard Dobson.

In 2015 she was listed as one of the top owners of shares in Impact Minerals.

A precious metals exploration company, it failed to grow, losing shareholders almost 70pc between 2017 and 2020.

Caddick is believed to have poured money heavily in other risky investments.

But she kept on spending, and began luring in people she knew and their friends and family who entrusted her to grow their retirement funds.

The hook for potential investors would be a rare and fleeting access to this supposedly canny woman's financial genius.

She ran it like an exclusive club that everyone should want to join: she would only take on new clients, she told one investor, when others dropped out.

In November 2016, Melissa Caddick bought her parents a ticket out of their beloved Georges River region to the posher confines of Sydney's East.

It was a $2.55m three bedroom, high rise apartment on Ocean Street, Edgecliff which wasn't waterfront but had a sandstone terrace with sweeping city views.

Meanwhile, Melissa Caddick had developed a taste for luxury goods, expensive travel and haute couture.

She travelled overseas 25 times since 2009, an average of more than twice a year, to the US, UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and South Korea.

The past three Christmases had been spent in the US, skiing in Aspen, with family staying for up to a month at the luxury apartment she rented.

Melissa Caddick's $6.2m house in Dover Heights, pictured three months after she vanished and her remains were found.
Melissa Caddick's $6.2m house in Dover Heights, pictured three months after she vanished and her remains were found.

She spent $63,000 on a Fijian holiday, taking husband Anthony Koletti, brother Adam and her personal chef.

Between 2017 and August 2020, bank records show, her American Express card paid for almost $230,000 of Dior products and $180,000 from jewellery designer Stefano Canturi.

Before her disappearance, she had spent $100,000 at Canturi on a diamond necklace and other items she failed to collect.

She also spent $60,000 at Chanel and a further $250,000 on shoes and other designer clothes, court documents show.

Private jets and limousines were a favoured mode of travel and court documents showed

Caddick also bought expensive paintings, although four art works worth thousands each were missing from the walls of her Dover Heights mansion when liquidators moved in.

She also spent $25,000 on shakes from diet company, Isagenix.

This lavish lifestyle was mostly funded, investigators believe, by up to $40m that around 60 investors had given to her to grow on their behalf

But Caddick had no Australian ­Financial Services licence to trade on their behalf and refused to use accounting software to record and calculate transactions.

Instead she invented a rosy financial position for Maliver via fake spreadsheets on Microsoft Excel, using barely more sophisticated technology than her parents' humble computing skills.

And the people she fooled include her unwitting parents Ted and Barbara and brother Adam.

Federal Court documents reveal the Grimleys paid their daughter and sister to invest in shares, but no return had been recorded at the time of Caddick's disappearance.

Anthony Koletti and Melissa Caddick, who spent thousands of other people’s money on her appearance.
Anthony Koletti and Melissa Caddick, who spent thousands of other people’s money on her appearance.

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Caddick's other victims include a Sydney couple who had been her friends, Cheryl Kraft Reid and Faye Reid, who lost their retirement savings, and a group of Perth surgeons and their families and friends.

One investor can count herself lucky.

The woman also had a teenage son at the exclusive Sydney private school where Caddick's son goes, and they both skied in Aspen.

After investing $2.5m, she requested it back after only four months and it was returned with an extra $300,000, an 8.3pc profit.

The last known footage of Caddick alive is Australian Federal Police bodycam video of the 49-year-old her inside the house at 7am on November 11.

The AFP was conducting a raid on behalf of the Australian Securities Investment Commission (ASIC) over the private school mother's suspected theft of millions of dollars from her clients.

Dressed in black exercise wear and Asics running shoes, Caddick asked rapid fire questions as officers bagged files, computers, luxury handbags, designer clothes, shoes and jewellery.

Businesswoman Melissa Caddick, as principal of Wise Financial Services, in 2003.
Businesswoman Melissa Caddick, as principal of Wise Financial Services, in 2003.

The day before the raid, ASIC had taken pre-emptive court action freezing all her bank accounts and issuing orders preventing her from leaving the country.

Around 5am the next day, her son would later tell police, he heard the "click" of the Dover

Heights house's front door.

The mansions which grace Wallangra Road, Raleigh and Liverpool streets on the way to Raleigh Reserve above the waves which thunder the Dover Heights rocks might be expected to have CCTV cameras.

But NSW Police say there is none of Melissa Caddick walking and have claimed she likely jumped to her death on the morning she vanished.

Eighteen weeks and three days passed before two men walking 450km south, on Bournda Beach near Tathra on the state's south coast found Caddick's running shoe.

Police matched DNA from a decomposed severed foot in the shoe to a sample from Caddick's toothbrush.

Apart from being called a master conwoman, Caddick has been described in reports as a "narcissistic sociopath" and wild rumours speculate she could be still alive.

Her grieving parents, son, brother and husband, meanwhile, face not only the prospect of how and when to lay their loved one to rest, but that they may soon also lose their homes.

candace.sutton@news.com.au

 

 

Originally published as How woman 'dodged bullet' with Caddick

Caddick’s parents Barbara and Ted Grimley (above) were respected members of the Georges River community in southern Sydney.
Caddick’s parents Barbara and Ted Grimley (above) were respected members of the Georges River community in southern Sydney.
Melissa Caddick in a Grade 5 photo at Lugarno Public School, second row from the top fourth from the left with curly hair.
Melissa Caddick in a Grade 5 photo at Lugarno Public School, second row from the top fourth from the left with curly hair.
Barb Grimley at he Narwee Tai Chi class.
Barb Grimley at he Narwee Tai Chi class.
Bar and Ted Grimley learn computer basics in 2015.
Bar and Ted Grimley learn computer basics in 2015.
Anthony Koletti with Melissa Caddick, to whom he was married for seven years before she disappeared.
Anthony Koletti with Melissa Caddick, to whom he was married for seven years before she disappeared.
AFP officers raid on the Dover Heights home of Melissa Caddick show the last known footage of her, last November 11. Picture: Picture: NSW Police
AFP officers raid on the Dover Heights home of Melissa Caddick show the last known footage of her, last November 11. Picture: Picture: NSW Police
Blurred image of the remains of Melissa Caddick’s foot in the runner found on the NSW south coast by campers last month. Picture: NSW Police.
Blurred image of the remains of Melissa Caddick’s foot in the runner found on the NSW south coast by campers last month. Picture: NSW Police.
Police have speculated Caddick may have leapt to her death off the cliffs near her Dover Heights home (above). Picture: NCA NewsWire/ James Gourley
Police have speculated Caddick may have leapt to her death off the cliffs near her Dover Heights home (above). Picture: NCA NewsWire/ James Gourley
Melissa Caddick, aged 49, vanished from Wallangra Road, Dover Heights, after midnight on November 12 last year.
Melissa Caddick, aged 49, vanished from Wallangra Road, Dover Heights, after midnight on November 12 last year.
Anthony Koletti husband of Melissa Caddick
Anthony Koletti husband of Melissa Caddick
Anthony Koletti and Melissa Caddick, wearing a designer necklace worth tens of thousands.
Anthony Koletti and Melissa Caddick, wearing a designer necklace worth tens of thousands.