Fear of forensic investigation saw fraud victim get his money back
A victim of an Australian con-woman, Melissa Caddick, is one of only a few investors in her Ponzi scheme who got his money back.
A wealthy surgeon was one of the dozens of people tricked into investing millions of dollars into the scheme.
According to investigators, Caddick stole more than $30 million between 2012 and 2020, with just $7 million returned to her clients.
The surgeon was ‘lucky’ enough to be going through a bitter divorce, and fearful that a forensic accountant working on behalf of his estranged wife would expose her, had his cash returned by Caddick.
When the Perth-based doctor told her of his impending divorce in 2016 and said that he would be making his own arrangements for his self-managed super fund in future, Caddick removed him from her Ponzi scheme and returned his investment and ‘profits’.
However, he had no idea how lucky he had been until November 2020, when Caddick’s fraudulent activity was uncovered.
This happened when the Australian authorities received an anonymous tip that Caddick was operating a financial services business without a licence, a crime that can attract a $20,000 fine and jail time.
Shortly afterwards, the Australian Securities Investment Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Federal Police conducted a raid of her mansion in Sydney and confiscated luxury clothes, shoes, handbags, and jewellery. They also froze her bank accounts and seized her properties.
Caddick, who seems to have gone to extraordinary lengths to escape justice – having disappeared on 12 November 2020, never to be seen again – was no doubt right to fear a forensic investigation.
Roger Isaacs, Forensic Partner at Milsted Langdon, said: “One wonders whether Caddick had salted away enough money from her illegal activity to fund a new life and a new identity.
If she had done so, it may well be the forensic accountants will be on her trail again. Cash is often impossible to trace but other forms of wealth leave behind a trail that can be followed
Statistically, however, the prospects of her other victims ever seeing their money again will be very small unless they qualify for government compensation.”
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