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Theory That Missing Fraudster Cut Off Her Own Foot To Fake Her Death Revived By New Inquest

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Melissa Caddick

A new inquest has revived the theory that Melissa Caddick faked her own death.

The Australian woman, who went missing in November 2020, was under investigation for a pyramid scheme that conned family and friends out of $20-$30 million when she disappeared without a trace.

Caddick managed to pull off the scam for over eight years, or so she thought before investigators showed up to raid her home on behalf of the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).

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The November 11, 2020 raid was the last time Caddick was seen.

The following February, a foot washed ashore at Bournda Beach on the New South Wales south coast, which led authorities to believe that Caddick was dead.

Did Melissa Caddick fake her own death?

The inquest has heard that it’s “very unlikely that Ms Caddick amputated her own foot.”

However, a forensic pathologist was unable to determine whether her foot was separated due to blunt force, sharp force or decomposition before it washed ashore.

Some believe Caddick may have evaded legal responsibility by faking her death rather than having been murdered or dying by suicide.

The only evidence suggesting Caddick is dead is the partial remains found months after her passing, but theorists argue this is not enough.

Some believe that Caddick could be living without her foot and still be alive and in hiding.

Experts argue Melissa Caddick could be alive, without her foot.

Criminologist Dr. Xanthe Mallett told The Daily Mail Australia, “It's possible [she's alive], at the extreme end of what's possible, in that what's been recovered is a foot, and medically you can survive without a foot.”

'It wouldn't be impossible to disappear when you have that much money. 'As an investigator, I couldn't rule it out. But what's possible and likely are two very different things.'”

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However, due to how bodies decay in water, it is not uncommon for feet in shoes to wash up on shores even when other remains are never found.

The coronial inquest into the 49-year-old’s’ disappearance and death is ongoing.

Melissa Caddick’s alleged fraud may have made her many enemies.

Caddick set up a financial firm in 2009 after working in the industry for several years, although she isn’t licensed.

She began small, but by 2012, she started her 8-year-long operation that led to the investigation.

Authorities believe Caddick misappropriated about $30 million in funds from family and friends during that time, showing them false documentation that led them to believe they had investments and were making money from their shares. 

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Caddick and her husband, Anthony Koletti, spent more than $600,000 per year funding their lavish lifestyle using the proceeds of her pyramid scheme.

Caddick’s fraudulent activity was first reported by a client.

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One of Caddick’s clients bumped into another person who knew Caddick and said Caddick was using her license to manage investments.

That client then reported the fraud to the Australian Securities Investment Commission.

Three months later, ASIC froze Caddick’s assets and prevent her from leaving the country, and the next day, authorities from the agency raided Caddick’s home.

Officers confiscate luxury fashion items, jewelry, and home furnishings. This is the last day that Caddick is seen alive.

Melissa Caddick disappeared before the investigation picked up steam.

Caddick’s son believed he heard her leave for a run at 5:30 a.m. on November 12, 2020.

She left behind her phone, wallet, and keys.

She failed to show up to surrender her passport and any pending plane tickets that afternoon at 4:00 p.m.

Koletti ultimately waited 30 hours before formally reporting Caddick missing.

In February 2021, a severed foot washed up on the New South Wales south coast, on Bournda Beach.

Five days later, DNA testing confirms the foot belongs to Caddick, who is presumed dead at that point.

Melissa Caddick’s husband was declared ‘suspicious’ after she went missing.

Because Caddick schemed family and friends, there’s reason to believe that if someone is responsible for her death, it could be someone close to her.

On the second day of the inquest, Detective Sergeant Michael Kyneur noted that Caddick’s husband’s behavior when reporting her missing and in the aftermath was “suspicious,” per The Guardian.

The investigator, the senior-most officer on the case, says that Caddick was inconsistent in his account of his wife’s last-known whereabouts.

“He didn’t appear to be overly concerned,” he told the court. “In my experience, if your spouse or loved one goes missing, there is usually some genuine concern or some type of emotion.”

That said, he doesn’t believe that Koletti hurt Caddick, however, suspecting that she’d either died by suicide or was “voluntarily missing,” and Koletti may know more than he has let on.

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Angela Andaloro is a writer who passionately explores all things entertainment, parenting, and true crime. Follow her on Twitter here.

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