Australians have been riveted by the story of a “financial adviser” who defrauded her clients, friends and family of around $30 million. The case of Melissa Caddick is the subject of a gripping podcast series by investigative journalists Kate McClymont and Tom Steinfort. It’s also been turned into a TV drama. In his latest article for Minchin Moore Private Wealth Advisers, ROBIN POWELL explains how the Caddick case provides an object lesson in how to spot a financial fraudster.
Melissa Caddick was nothing if not confident. The 49-year-old Sydney fraudster and self-proclaimed “financial adviser” stole $30 million from clients, many of them close family and friends, in a classic Ponzi scheme.
Caddick deposited clients’ money in 37 different accounts, all of which she was a prime signatory to, and then fabricated portfolio statements to convince her unwitting victims that they were making stellar returns.
For eight years, Caddick, a known fraudster with bogus qualifications and a fake financial services licence, lived a life of luxury with her hairdresser husband — living in a Sydney mansion overlooking Bondi, skiing in Aspen, driving sports cars and wearing designer clothes and jewellery.
But just as the law finally caught up with her, she mysteriously disappeared. A day after a raid on her home by the Australian Federal Police, Caddick was overheard by her son leaving the family home at 5am, ostensibly for her morning run. Months later, evidence of her remains were washed up on a south coast beach in New South Wales.
ROBIN POWELL is the editor of The Evidence-Based Investor. He works as a journalist and consultant specialising in finance and investing, and as a campaigner for a fairer, more transparent asset management industry. You can find him here on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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