A woman who invested $2.5 million with Melissa Caddick has told an inquest a chance meeting in a Sydney dental clinic led her to discover the alleged fraudster was using someone else’s financial services licence.
- Dominique Ogilvie says she met Ms Caddick in Colarado in early 2020
- Ms Caddick claimed she made Ms Ogilvie $300,000 in less than a month
- Another financial services advisor revealed Ms Caddick was using her licence number
The inquest has also heard from Ms Caddick’s husband, Anthony Koletti, who said he had no knowledge of any fraudulent activity from his wife.
Ms Caddick has not been seen since November 2020, after the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and Australian Federal Police raided her home in Dover Heights, in Sydney’s east.
ASIC was at the time investigating the 49-year-old over an alleged Ponzi scheme. An inquest into her suspected death has heard the alleged fraud involved between $20 million and $30 million.
Witness Dominique Ogilvie told the court she initially transferred $450,000 to Ms Caddick in April 2020, after meeting her in Aspen, Colorado, in January.
She was told Ms Caddick was a financial adviser who “ran a small company” from home, working with about 15 clients.
“That is brilliant, you are brilliant, I love your efficiency,” she texted Ms Caddick in July, in response to a portfolio summary she had been sent.
The inquest heard that by that point, she had invested $2.5 million with Ms Caddick’s company Maliver and later the same month, was told by Ms Caddick she had made a profit of $300,000.
After developing a friendship with Ms Caddick, she had a chance meeting with another financial adviser, Jennifer Porter, in the waiting room of a Sydney dental clinic, and Ms Porter asked if her adviser was Melissa Caddick.
“She said, ‘I need to speak with you,'” Ms Ogilvie told the court.
“I sort of felt like she needed to tell me something … she alarmed me [that] something could be wrong.”
The court heard the two later met at Ms Ogilvie’s home, where she showed Ms Porter investment documents which included an Australian Financial Services Licence number.
“She said, ‘Yes, that’s my number, and she’s using it without my permission illegally,'” Ms Ogilvie said.
“I sort of gulped and was very anxious … I was confused. I didn’t know who to trust.”
The court heard Ms Ogilvie immediately rang Ms Caddick and used the “excuse” that she had seen a house she wanted to buy as she requested all her shares be sold.
Ms Caddick ultimately returned Ms Ogilvie’s $2.5 million, as well as a “profit” of about $380,000.
Ms Ogilvie told the court she did not have concerns, at that point, about the misuse of client funds, but “didn’t want to do business with someone who was doing something illegal”.
She was interviewed by ASIC on September 14, having “cut back” from speaking to Ms Caddick because she felt uncomfortable.
This afternoon, Ms Caddick’s husband told the court he understood her work to involve financial services.
“At no point did you know about any fraudulent activity?” Counsel Assisting Jason Downing SC asked.
“That’s correct,” Mr Koletti replied.
While Mr Koletti agreed they shared an accountant and he saw her tax returns, he said he didn’t really “pay attention” to the figures.
“I’m not really financially savvy.”
Mr Koletti said Ms Caddick was “obviously very shocked” when ASIC and AFP officers turned up at their Dover Heights home early on November 11, 2020.
“She seemed pretty together in the morning and as the day went on, I feel like she progressively got a bit worse,” he said.
Asked whether he asked his wife anything about why she believed there was a search warrant, he said he was not worried about that at the time.
“I was under the belief she’d done nothing wrong,” he told the inquest.
“It must have been quite a shock?” Mr Downing asked.
“Yes,” Mr Koletti replied.
He agreed that as at the day of the raid, he believed Ms Caddick to be smart, diligent, hard-working and good at what she did.
The court has previously heard police felt uneasy about Mr Koletti’s inconsistent versions of events following the raid and suspected he was withholding information.
Today, he insisted that on each occasion when he has provided accounts about the days following the raid – including in a recorded police interview, two statements, a media conference and an affidavit – he has provided truthful accounts.
“Yes, what I believed so at that point in time, considering when it was,” he said.
“What do you mean by that?” Mr Downing asked.
“My thought process has evolved,” he replied.
Mr Koletti has not been charged over Ms Caddick’s disappearance.
The inquest, before deputy state coroner Elizabeth Ryan, continues.