If you haven’t heard of the strange case of Melissa Caddick, then you are in for a doozy. Melissa vanished in the early morning of November 12, 2020 with none of her belongings. It was the day after the Australian Federal Police raided her home, taking with them her extensive wardrobe and jewelry collection, including her million-dollar wedding dress.
The reason for this raid? Melissa, thought to be a successful business woman, had actually stolen nearly $30 million from her clients, mainly friends and family, in a massive Ponzi scheme. Now, there’s a missing woman and a missing fortune. “Liar, Liar: Melissa Caddick and the Missing Millions” is a new podcast telling the ongoing story of one of the biggest and most shameless fraudsters Australia has ever known.
“Liar, Liar: Melissa Caddick and the Missing Millions” is a joint effort by Sydney Morning Herald investigative journalist Kate McClymont and 60 Minutes journalist Tom Steinfort. There are few people better suited for the job than this duo, what with the many awards they’ve won for their journalism and the now year and a half they’ve been covering this case.
If you’re looking for drama backed by some of the best investigative journalism you’ll find on a podcast, then you’ve come to the right place.
The Ponzi scheme of the century
McClymont and Steinfort are calling Melissa’s crimes and subsequent disappearance one of the most extraordinary crimes of the 21st century. As they tell us in the pilot episode, Melissa Caddick posed as a financial advisor for years, stealing over $23 million from her clients (mainly family, friends, and even her elderly parents) who thought their funds were being invested in shares. Instead, she funneled the money into her own pocket, spending the funds on luxury holidays, private jets, sports cars for her husband, and an extensive wardrobe and jewelry collection.
Even from the first minutes of “Liar, Liar: Melissa Caddick and the Missing Millions,” we can tell that this podcast will dive into every nook and cranny of this story. In future episodes, they’ll be speaking with detectives on working both the embezzlement case and missing persons case, speaking with key figures who have yet to speak out, and financial experts who are following the money trail.
So far, McClymont, Steinfort, and essentially everyone else on the hunt for Melissa and the millions of dollars she stole have found that her entire working life has all been fraudulent. She’s been forging signatures, falsifying documents, and faking degrees, leading to her bigger and better crimes like embezzlement. In this podcast, the two will be uncovering new evidence in a case where everyone has a theory of their own.
Gone Girl theories and a human foot
Did she pull a Gone Girl and dye her hair, change her name, and fake her disappearance? Was Caddick kidnapped, turning this into a murder case like her husband and their legal team suggest? It seems all too convenient that she disappeared just one day after her house was raided.
In fact, McClymont and Steinfort learned that Melissa may have been aware that authorities were on to her in August of 2020. She deleted her Facebook and Twitter profiles that month, and by September, she was shredding important documents.
The story continues to get crazier the longer it goes on. In February of 2021, a human foot washed ashore on the coast of New South Wales, a foot confirmed to be Melissa’s through DNA testing. For her husband, Anthony Koletti, it seemed to him that this confirmed that foul play was afoot in Melissa’s disappearance.
But when it comes to a woman whose entire life has been a lie, how could this not be a red herring? She had everyone fooled for decades, so this could easily just be another one of her tricks. Besides, you don’t need a foot to live, as many people investigating this case have pointed out.
From the mass public interest to the over 30 bank accounts that the money was funneled through, this is the biggest Ponzi scheme many detectives and experts have ever seen. Melissa fleeced friends and family from their entire savings and lived lavishly on their hard-earned money. And “Liar, Liar: Melissa Caddick and the Missing Millions” is the best way to keep up.
McClymont and Steinfort are taking listeners from the upmarket jewelry auction rooms of Hong Kong to the ski slopes of Aspen to private islands in the South Pacific in hopes that this will lead us to who they are calling Bernie Madoff down under.