Ponzi scheme victims of Melissa Caddick may finally get some justice as a judge ruled her multi-million dollar Sydney home and investment firm should be handed over to receivers.
The Federal Court on Monday declared the mother-of-one, who vanished on November 12 last year, had provided unlicensed financial advice between 2012 and 2020 under her company Maliver.
Australian Securities and Investments Commission have been trying to recover some of the live-savings her 72 clients poured in the scam, which funded her lavish lifestyle of luxury clothes, real estate and overseas holidays.
Her investors were duped out of about $30million before the financial watchdog cottoned onto the scam and raided her home last year.
Justice Brigitte Markovic ruled Maliver should be wound down with provisional liquidators to now be made permanent as they divvy what’s left of the company for her victims.
The Ponzi scheme victims Melissa Caddick may finally get some justice as a judge ruled her multi-million dollar Sydney home and investment firm should be handed over to receivers
As an ASIC investigation closed in on her $30million scam, Caddick left her luxury $6.2million Dover Heights home in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs (pictured) for a dawn run and vanished
But while Justice Markovic signalled Ms Caddick’s $6.2million Dover Heights home in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs should also sold off and distributed, the liquidators will still require further court approval before taking possession of the property.
That was due to the unusual circumstances of the case, including Ms Caddick’s vanishing, complexities arising from potential claims by non-investors over Ms Caddick’s property and the potential for different classes of investors making different claims, Justice Brigitte Markovic said.
Ms Caddick is likely dead after her foot washed up on a Bournda Beach, south of Tathra – about 400 kilometres from her Sydney home where she was last seen, in February.
From October 2012, she collected more than $30 million from 72 so-called investors, most of whom were family and friends and all of whom expected their funds would be invested on their behalf.
“Instead, (the funds) were used to meet Ms Caddick’s personal expenses and purchase assets in her name,” Justice Markovic said on Monday.
Based on the liquidators’ report, the court found investors were owed $23,554,921.
On her American Express card alone, Caddick allegedly spent $229,277 at Dior, $187,000 at Canturi Jewellers, $48,000 at Chanel and $52,548 at Cosmopolitan shoes
Caddick’s disappearance sparked a massive manhunt until her rotting foot (pictured) drifted ashore in February on Bournda Beach, 400km south of Sydney, and she was declared dead
That figure is subject to any potential “unjust enrichment or uncommercial transaction” claims related to Caddick paying out returns that were fictitious or possibly inflated.
Maliver, whose sole director was Ms Caddick, traded on another person’s Australian Financial Services Licence and neither the company nor Ms Caddick ever held an AFSL while providing a financial service, the judge found.
That breached the corporations act.
The court’s full reasons are expected to be released on Wednesday once parties agree on what sensitive information should be redacted.
The decision comes after a hearing in June and July in which Justice Markovic was told of Ms Caddick’s “quite elaborate fraud” that followed a repeated pattern.
She would convince potential investors of her prowess in creating wealth, interview them and advise them of an investment strategy.
Caddick is pictured during the ASIC-AFP raid on her Dover Heights home on November 11
WHAT MELISSA CADDICK ALLEGEDLY SPENT MONEY ON
Court documents obtained by Daily Mail Australia break down how Ms Caddick spent her millions.
According to an affidavit by an ASIC investigator, expenses from her American Express account alone from December 2017 to August 2020 include:
$187.650 Canturi Jewels
$52,584 Cosmopolitan Shoes
$39,757.69 Net A Porter
$108.586.45 ‘Flight Centre’
$17,777.23 Louis Vuitton
Ms Caddick told one investor “I don’t need to do this … I’m doing it to help people and it’s very much restricted to family and friends,” according to that investor’s affidavit.
Statements purporting to be from online stockbroking firm CommSec and in investors’ names were provided. But the accounts didn’t exist.
About half of the investors also established self-managed superannuation funds to facilitate investments, regulator Australian Securities and Investments Commission told the hearing.
Her parents are among those making claims, after handing their daughter $1.03m on the understanding they would own part of an Edgecliff home and, importantly, have life tenancy.
If not for their daughter’s representations, the parents now aged in their 80s would have bought a smaller property in their own name in Sydney’s southern suburbs, the court was told in July.