“I realized something was wrong, but I couldn’t locate it,” Woolf said.
It wasn’t until he requested his client’s original documents from a major financial institution, MLC, that Woolf discovered his scam. Caddick had used Tipp-ex, or correction fluid, to heal the form to give herself double the amount she was entitled to.
The client had agreed to pay her an initial “service fee” of $3,432 in lieu of a commission. On the form, where he was asked, “Would you like to allocate a portion of your initial (initial) compensation in the form of additional units to your client?” Caddick ticked “yes” and circled 100%. This meant that she was giving up any right to take a commission.
However, when Woolf looked at what she had submitted to MLC, to his amazement he saw that she had “Tipp-exed” this to give herself a hefty commission, which MLC paid her. Woolf said MLC was unaware that she had already been fully paid for her services.
This meant that the client had not invested $104,000 because Caddick had stolen part of his investment.
“Rip off. That’s the word to use,” Woolf told the podcast. However, when he confronted Caddick, she said, “Oh my god, my secretary messed up here.” Her boss also believed that was a real mistake.
But Woolf is certain it was not a one-time mistake.
“I know, as the sun is going to rise in the east tomorrow, this couldn’t have been the only application form this was done to,” he said.
The podcast also delves into Caddick’s childhood in Sydney’s southern suburbs and his upbringing. According to her friends, she was not particularly outstanding in anything during her school years and especially not in mathematics.
One of his oldest friends, Kate Horn, told the podcast that Caddick took the most basic math class in school and “she struggled a bit with it.”
Her supposed financial wizardry later in life was something her friend thought she had “maturely developed.”
In addition to forging checks and altering documents, the podcast also reveals Caddick’s astonishing lies on his resume.
She claimed that in her early twenties, she managed the day-to-day cash flow for the entire NRMA Group, which “comprised 17 entities with a combined annual revenue of over $250 billion”.
Caddick, who failed to achieve the grades required to enter college, later lied about his graduate studies both on his resume and in later documents.
Sydney University of Technology said it had “no record of obtaining a post-graduate degree in finance or a Masters of Commerce in finance – or even any qualification – under the name by Melissa Caddick or Melissa Grimley”.
Including false qualifications on a legal document, which Caddick did, is a criminal offense that has seen people jailed in the past.
The emotional and financial havoc she caused her investors might have been avoided if she had been taken care of when she was caught in her first frauds.
“It’s a real message to anyone who catches someone there, they need to report it, because they’re doing their next victim a disservice,” Dr Parmegiani said.