“He was upset and angry that Anthony hadn’t reported her missing and that he hadn’t contacted her family,” said Mr Grimley’s friend. Mr Koletti said he’d spent Thursday driving around, visiting their favourite spots, looking for his wife, Mr Grimley said.
Mr Grimley also told the friend that the corporate regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, had been to his sister’s house on Wednesday and had taken everything “all because of one disgruntled client”.
What neither Mr Grimley nor his friend knew that afternoon was that both of them were victims of Melissa Caddick’s astonishing deception. They would soon find out she had stolen many millions of dollars from those closest to her.
Ms Caddick’s financial records, which were tendered in court, show Mr Grimley paid sums of $114,000 and $23,650 into his sister’s accounts. The payments are recorded as rent. Mr Grimley had been working as a consultant in Singapore in recent years but had returned to Australia earlier this year to have a medical procedure. Because of COVID-19 he was unable to return and was staying with his parents at an Edgecliff penthouse Ms Caddick bought for $2.55 million in 2016.
Earlier that week, the 49-year-old woman’s world came crashing down. On Tuesday ASIC had gone to court to freeze her bank accounts and prevent her from leaving the country. At 6am the following day she was shocked to open the front door to Australian Federal Police bearing warrants to search her property and seize goods.
By 7pm the last of the officers left. With them went armfuls of couture gowns, designer clothes, handbags, shoes and jewellery. ASIC has alleged the luxury goods were bought with the millions of dollars her clients had invested with her.
Ms Caddick had been required to hand in her passport by 4pm on Thursday, November 12 and to turn up to court via video link at 9.45am the next day.
She did neither. When Justice Jayne Jagot resumed the hearing that Friday morning, Mr Koletti informed the court that his wife was missing and he didn’t know where she was. He was advised to alert the police, which he did about noon that day. He also informed her family.
“It’s really hard, I’m very worried, all I want is for her to be found,” Mr Koletti said at a media conference a fortnight after her disappearance. “We’ve been married seven years, we’ve known each other a long time. I’m doing everything to help detectives find her. It’s really hard. I just want to find her. Right now I’m chasing every lead possible, all I want is to find her.”
One eastern suburbs businessman, whose sister had invested with Ms Caddick, said that two weeks after Ms Caddick went missing he was stunned to receive a call “out of the blue” from Mr Koletti who said: “I know you know a lot of people in the east and that you get around. If you see her can you let us know or phone the police.”
There is no suggestion that Mr Koletti or Mr Grimley had anything to do with Ms Caddick’s alleged fraud or her disappearance.
Just how much Ms Caddick is alleged to have misappropriated remains unclear. More than $20 million moved through her accounts from January 2018 until September 2020.
However, court documents suggest that Ms Caddick’s “suspected contraventions” may have started as early as May 6, 2009. This masthead understands one of her last victims, a Sydney lawyer, invested money with Ms Caddick as late as October.
Instead of investing her clients’ funds in shares, Ms Caddick used the money to support her profligate lifestyle – everything from a $457 fine for running a red light to the ivory Gucci evening dress she had worn at her surprise wedding to Mr Koletti, 11 years her junior, on New Year’s Eve 2013.
Mr Koletti, 38, grew up in Riverwood, where his father Rodo is a tax agent. The couple met while Mr Koletti was working as a hairdresser at Joh Bailey’s salon in Westfield Bondi Junction. At the time Ms Caddick was married to Tony Caddick, a British bricklayer whom she put through law school. The Caddicks had a son together.
“Anthony was her ‘toy boy’,” said one family friend. “She was the breadwinner and a controlling one at that.”
Mr Koletti’s businesses have included the now-deregistered AK47 Pty Ltd and a music production company, Paws Off Productions. Mr Koletti is currently unemployed and has $1.95 in the bank, he told the Federal Court. He has recently turned his hand to breeding prawns in a home aquarium.
As the guests stood toasting the newlyweds, enjoying the panoramic view of the fireworks across Sydney Harbour from the balcony of her $2900 weekly rental in Chamberlain Avenue, Rose Bay, they could not have known their misappropriated investments were paying for it all.
Observing her designer clothes, her expensive holidays and the 2014 purchase for $6.2 million of her five-bedroom home in Dover Heights, one of her victims, Cheryl Kraft Reid, recalled asking Ms Caddick how she could possibly afford this lifestyle.
Ms Caddick told her she was independently wealthy and was only offering her investment services “to help people”, Ms Kraft Reid said. In 2003, while working at Wise Financial Services, she had received $86 million for selling a program to manage superannuation funds to major financial institutions, Ms Caddick claimed.
She said that as part of the sale she had agreed not to work in the industry for a decade.
Ms Kraft Reid has subsequently learned that, like everything else about Ms Caddick, this was a “total fabrication”.
Ms Kraft Reid, an auditor, asked to see her indemnity insurance and other financial documents when she first invested with Ms Caddick in 2016. She has now discovered everything in that financial pack sent to her by Ms Caddick was fraudulent.
“We’ve worked really, really hard to set ourselves up for retirement,” said Ms Kraft Reid. “This is our life savings,” she said of the $780,000 she and her wife, Faye Reid, had invested with Ms Caddick.
Ms Reid said Ms Caddick always had the air of ruthless efficiency. She would send you documents to sign by express post and threatened you would be off her books if you didn’t have them signed and returned in three days.
“She was a predator,” Ms Kraft Reid said.
Kate McClymont is an investigative journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald.