Missing millionaire ‘still alive and on the run’
Detectives have widened the net in the search for accused fraudster Melissa Caddick amid a theory she has fled to Queensland having disappeared the same night officers executed a search warrant on her Sydney mansion.
Police involved in the search for the millionaire businesswoman, suspected of siphoning off her clients' investments to fund a lavish lifestyle, believe she is "very much still alive" and could be on the run interstate after failing to unearth a single clue to her whereabouts since she left her clifftop home 68 days ago.
Senior officers have spent hundreds of hours trawling through CCTV footage panning the exclusive Dover Heights street where she lived and investigated "a mountain" of tips from the public leading them to query the assumption she left her $7 million home about 5.30am on November 12, when her son told police he thought he heard the "click" of the front door when she left for a run.
"That click could have been anything, we cannot base an entire investigation on that, we are open to the theory she could have gone missing any time from the night the warrant was completed to any time after 5.30am the next day on Thursday, November 12," a police source said.
"It's not that the family isn't telling the truth, her husband said he believed he thought she left for her run that morning and her son heard the door go, but there is no evidence beyond the door closing that she went at 5.30am; no one witnessed her leave.
"There has been no confirmed sighting of Melissa Caddick, we have gone through hundreds of hours of CCTV footage and have followed up a mountain of leads. We are investigating the possibility she is very much still alive," he said.
A source added: "It is not beyond the realms of possibility that she is in Queensland."
Since she went missing, more than 30 officers from Eastern Suburbs police, NSW Missing Persons Registry and Crime Stoppers have fielded hundreds of calls from the public reporting sightings and information that could lead to the 49-year-old financial adviser.
Officers are also examining her high-end cars and computers for clues. She has not delved into her bank accounts, or contacted family or friends since she vanished without her phone, keys or wallet.
Corporate watchdog ASIC revealed the night they searched her home they had been investigating how she managed her company, Maliver Pty Ltd, and handled investor money amid claims she was operating without a licence.
More than $20 million of investors' funds, predominantly savings of her rich friends, was deposited into Ms Caddick's account between January 2018 and September 18, 2020, according to documents filed in the Federal Court.
Bank records show the accused fraudster spent an astonishing amount on luxury clothes, limousines, travel, mortgage payments and protein shakes.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said Ms Caddick's perplexing disappearance remained a missing persons investigation.
"We are treating the case as she is still alive," the commissioner told Ben Fordham on 2GB.
"There are two aspects to this ... the NSW Police is leading a missing person investigation into her going missing. The Australian Security Investment Commission is also running an investigation into potential frauds in relation to superannuation investments in the millions, perhaps the tens of millions of dollars.
"So there are potentially hundreds and hundreds of victims out there and of course her family members want answers and we are actively investigating that."
Ms Caddick's disappearance has reportedly stunned her family. Those close to her parents say they were so unsuspecting of her alleged fraudulent activities they have sunk into a deep depression.
"Ted and Barbara just sit at home staring, they don't eat, friends have to go around and spoon feed them.
"It's so sad, they just can't get their heads around what's happened to Melissa, that ASIC are investigating their daughter," one family friend told The Daily Telegraph. "They're waiting for the debt collectors to throw them out of the apartment.
"Melissa adores her elderly parents, they, and her son, are everything to her - she bought the parents the Edgecliff apartment so they were comfortable in old age.
"She sold their house and bought them the penthouse several years ago.
"Barbara used to love her gym sessions, she hasn't left the house once since Melissa walked out on them."
Anyone with information about the disappearance is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
The Melissa Caddick riddle
The Federal Court freezes financial adviser Melissa Caddick's assets, including 17 bank accounts, and bans her from leaving the country.
The last sighting of Caddick alive was inside the bedroom of her home on Wallangra Rd after the Australian Federal Police had turned up at her front door with corporate regulator ASIC holding a search warrant. Police say
she could have gone
missing at any time from
this point onwards.
When her husband Anthony Koletti woke the following morning, his wife of seven years was gone. He said he was asleep at the time. Their son told police he thought he heard the "click" of the front door about 5.30am, suspecting his mother had left for a run.
NOVEMBER 13 9.45am
Ms Caddick was meant to appear in the Federal Court to hand in her passport. But in Mrs Caddick's absence, Mr Koletti turned up. He informed the court his wife hadn't come home from a run 24 hours earlier. Someone inside the courthouse told him to make an official missing persons report.
NOVEMBER 13 NOON
Thirty-six hours after their last conversation, Mr Koletti reported his wife's disappearance at an eastern suburbs police station.
Originally published as Missing millionaire 'still alive and on the run'