Investors’ fury over missing woman’s extravagant spending
Devastated investors who look to have lost millions to missing businesswoman Melissa Caddick don't want her son's $66,000 a year private school fees to come out of what may be left, the Federal Court was told on Tuesday.
The clients, who include surgeons, are "strongly" against increasing the weekly living allowance for her ex-hairdresser husband Anthony Koletti and her 15-year-old son from $800 a week, counsel for the corporate watchdog ASIC said.
"ASIC is getting correspondence from investors who are deeply aggrieved," Stephanie Fendekian told the court.
The ASIC investigation began on September 8 this year and she said one "distressed" group alone had invested $13.1 million with the majority of those investors having "not received funds back to date".
They opposed funding the "lifestyle" of her family, including the husband who doesn't work, the court was told.
Ms Caddick, 49, was the sole breadwinner and her assets have been frozen, leaving Mr Koletti unable to access them as he claims he needs the $66,000 upfront cost of private school fees, $2000 a month for income protection and $600 a month to cover transport costs.
His application for more expenses will be decided tomorrow morning in court. Neither Mr Koletti nor his son is accused of any wrongdoing.
Justice Brigitte Markovic said that with Ms Caddick missing and the fact she was the only director of her company Maliver, the situation was "drastic" enough to warrant the appointment of a receiver to her affairs and a provisional liquidator to Maliver.
The court has heard evidence that from the tips of her Chanel-shod feet to the Dior frocks and winters in affluent Aspen, Melissa Caddick was the epitome of eastern suburbs excess.
In New York, she whipped out her Amex card at luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman to spend $17,617. In Sydney she was a regular at Dior where she splashed out on almost $250,000 worth of goodies within three years.
Then there were the trips: London, Hong Kong and Singapore.
In two trips to Fiji alone in 2018 and 2019 she managed to spend $63,022.
But ASIC alleges it wasn't all her own cash that she was splashing around. Most of it belonged to investors who never checked that she had no Australian financial services licence when they handed the personable mother their millions to invest. They were told others had doubled their portfolios in a year.
Now they are concerned and distressed, the court was told.
In total 61 investors have been spoken to by ASIC and their identities have been suppressed. Some of them are surgeons, one had appointed her trustee of his $5 million self-managed super fund. One law firm, Bridges Lawyers, represents clients who invested $5.3 million with her. At least $13.1 million has gone missing, the court heard.
Their worlds came crashing down not long after Ms Caddick's did - when Federal Police Officers spent 13 hours raiding her clifftop Dover Heights home on November 10 as part of ASIC's investigation. As well as her Macbook and files, agents took jewellery, watches, designer label clothing, accessories and shoes, the court as told.
Two days later she disappeared and remains missing. ASIC says it will take at least 20 weeks to investigate her financial affairs.
ASIC told the court that her husband and son are not about to be evicted from their home. Her Edgecliff penthouse is also safe for the time being. But they could go after her Aspen holiday home, believed to be in the exclusive North of Nell block.
Between December 2017 and August this year, she spent around $100,000 in the Colorado ski town.
Her Amex bill, which is listed in ASIC documents tendered to the court, reveals that she has spent $229,277 at Dior, $48,588 at Chanel, $52,548 at Cosmopolitan Shoes, $187,650 on Canturi jewellery and $108,586 at Flight Centre. As well, $339,359 has disappeared from a US dollar account in her name.
The court was told she had deposited that sum into it between August 2018 to August 2020 but the account was empty as at August 2020.
A total of $20,079,000 was withdrawn from one of Ms Caddick's 29 bank accounts between January 1, 2018, and September 18, 2020. ASIC claims she mingled clients' funds with her own.
Originally published as Investors' fury over missing woman's extravagant spending