Missing Australian ‘fraudster’ could have cut off her own FOOT to trick police into thinking she is dead, cops say after body part is found
- Missing Australian accused of fraud may have severed her own foot, police say
- The body part was found in a shoe 248 miles away from her luxury Sydney home
- Caddick vanished last year after a search warrant was carried out on her house
- The 49-year-old is accused of swindling £14 million worth of investors’ funds
A missing Australian woman accused of fraud may have severed her own foot to trick police into thinking she is dead, police have claimed.
Melissa Caddick, 49, from Sydney vanished on November 11 last year, the day after the country’s corporate watchdog ASIC executed a search warrant for her luxury £3million (AUD $6.1 million) home.
She is accused of swindled more than £14 million (AUD $25million) worth of investors’ funds, and leaving 68 victims of fraud in her wake.
Her disappearance is under investigation and has led officers to discover her decomposing foot in a rare Asics shoe 248 miles away from her home on South Coast of New South Wales on February 21. No more of her remains have been found.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said authorities were still unable to say whether she killed herself or if there was foul play involved.
He also raised the outlandish possibility Ms Caddick could have severed her own foot to throw police off the scent – and that she could still be alive.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said he doubted Caddick jumped from the Dover Heights clifftops because of how far away her remains were found from Sydney
Caddick’s decomposed foot was found on the New South Wales South Coast in a rare Asics shoe 248 miles away from her home. Mr Fuller said it was possible the conwoman severed her own foot
‘There’s always a chance she cut her foot off and is still alive, though it’s pretty fanciful,’ he told the country’s 2GB radio station on Monday morning
However, he was satisfied the 49-year-old millionaire was dead.
‘We’re still trying to recover funds [for defrauded investors] and that investigation continues. But we haven’t closed this case.’
One theory to explain her disappearance has been that Caddick jumped from the clifftops of Dover Heights, a luxury suburb in Sydney’s east, after making the short 300m walk from her home.
The route is not covered by CCTV cameras and led police to initially suspect she had taken her own life.
But Mr Fuller said many people jumped from those cliffs without their remains washing up several hundred kilometers away.
‘[It’s not common to see] body parts wash up so far south of Sydney and in such good condition given she went missing on or about November 11,’ he said.
‘Not to say it can’t happen. The coroner will make further determinations.’
He said the limited decomposition of the shoe would indicate it had not been out in the ocean for the entire three-month period since she went missing.
Pictured: Melissa Caddick and her husband Anthony Koletti before she went missing on November 11
Mr Fuller said many people had jumped from those cliffs without their remains washing up several hundred kilometers away
‘While it’s not my area of expertise, if that’s the case a possible scenario is that she has been murdered recently or murdered and kept on ice for a while,’ he said.
‘A severed foot is a great throw off.’
He said though the chance of her being murdered was ‘slim’.
The search for the 49-year-old was called off last week, but Mr Fuller said the foot could have been planted to end public and police interest in the case.
‘Of all the beaches and feet in the world, to find hers… what is the probability of that?’ he said.
Caddick with her husband Anthony Koletti. She is estimated to have swindled more than $25million worth of investors’ funds
The radio interview follows Rodo Koletti, the father of Caddick’s husband Anthony, breaking his silence on Australia’s 60 Minutes on Sunday night to clear his name of any wrongdoing.
Mr Koletti, appearing with only part of his face shown to hide his identity, said he has been the target of defamation in the wake of Caddick’s deception.
‘I think the whole Melissa Caddick thing has taken on a life of its own,’ he said.
‘It would appear that some people have taken it upon themselves to throw assertions, fraudulent statements, lies… you know, defamation of all sorts against myself, my character and my profession, which is just what I could not stand for.
Mr Koletti, who believes his son is in denial, denied claims he killed Caddick or had any involvement in masterminding her financial fraud.
He also said he didn’t think his hairdresser son was capable of helping Caddick rip off her family and friends, who had invested their nest eggs in her business Maliver.
‘Anthony’s a damn good hairdresser, but I don’t believe he has the capacity to know what a financial scheme is,’ he said.
‘I don’t think he could have been in it at all, or known what was going on.
‘When I spoke with him he certainly didn’t [know of Caddick’s fraudulence]. He believed everything she told him.’
Rodo Koletti, the father of Caddick’s husband Anthony, appeared with only part of his face shown to hide his identity. He said he has been the target of defamation in the wake of Caddick’s deception
Mr Koletti was unwittingly implicated in Caddick’s scheme by his signature being forged to verify bogus documents.
He also knocked back claims he had ever done any work with Maliver.
When presented with a document purporting to show his signature, Mr Koletti revealed it had been forged.
‘That is not my signature… if you see my signature, it’s very distinctive, and that is not it. Not mine,’ he said.
In January, Mr Koletti said his 39-year-old son believes the businesswoman had done ‘nothing wrong’.
‘It’s very traumatic for him, he stopped seeing his family when they got together, it has divided us,’ Rodo Kolleti told Australia’s Daily Telegraph.
Mr Koletti was unwittingly implicated in Caddick’s scheme by his signature being forged to verify bogus documents
Her decomposed foot in a rare Asics shoe was found 248 miles away from her home on Bournda Beach on February 21
Caddick’s father in law was unwittingly implicated in Caddick’s scheme by his signature being forged to verify bogus documents. Pictured with her husband Anthony
‘I’ve seen her four or five times in eight years, she didn’t want anything to do with us.’
The smear campaign against Caddick’s father-in-law comes after a woman, who nearly invested money with the businesswoman, revealed she decided against it after meeting up with her and feeling something was ‘a little off’.
The Sydney woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, said after discussing finances over lunch with the conwoman, she was given a ‘very odd response’ when she asked about her trading approach.
Divers have stopped looking for the remains of the 49-year-old financial adviser after searching over 6,000sq/m in the water off Dover Heights in Sydney’s east on Friday
Authorities raided her $6.2million Dover Heights mansion on November 11 (pictured is bodycam footage of the raid)
Caddick vanished the day after Australia’s corporate watchdog ASIC executed a search warrant at her luxury Dover Heights home on November 11.
Her decomposed foot in a rare Asics shoe was found 248 miles away from her home on Bournda Beach on February 21 and police confirmed over the weekend they had now called off the search for the 49-year-old.
While detectives say the fraudster may have taken her own life, the woman who had lunch with Caddick believes something more sinister may have been at play.
She told The Daily Telegraph she had a theory that Caddick had been ‘influenced by a larger criminal cartel that operated’ and suggested she may have been ‘abducted’.
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