Defrauded investors have agreed to a framework to recover the millions of dollars stolen by conwoman Melissa Caddick, a court has been told.
Vanessa Whittaker, representing the receivers in charge of liquidating the 49-year-old’s estate, told the Federal Court on Wednesday that the “overwhelming majority” of investors had agreed to split funds on an equal footing.
The move puts to rest the possibility that efforts to pay back creditors would descend to a drawn-out legal fight as individual investors sought priority over others.
“The upshot is the out-of-pocket investors, the overwhelming majority … have informed the receivers they agree with a pari-passu approach,” Ms Whittaker said.
She told the court that 54 of 55 investors had agreed to the “equitable” process set out by receivers, while the last simply didn’t respond.
Melissa Caddick with her husband Anthony Koletti, who was forced to vacate her Dover Heights home when it was put up for sale. Picture: Supplied
The move comes a month after Justice Brigitte Markovic warned there was a “dwindling pool of money” that should not be wasted on legal fees.
More than $23m is still owed to investors in Caddick’s financial services company Maliver, which the Australian Securities and Investments Commission claims was an elaborate Ponzi scheme.
Lawyers acting for the receivers have told the court the pool of funds recovered through liquidation has been “fixed”, apart from an ongoing challenge over an Edgecliffe property in Sydney’s east.
The court was told there would be a legal challenge over the apartment Caddick bought for her parents, Barbara and Ted Grimley.
Caddick bought the lavish Dover Heights mansion for $6.2m in 2014 using money misappropriated from clients. Picture: Damian Shaw
In an affidavit filed with the court, the Grimleys claim they made a $1m payment to Caddick to contribute to the property’s purchase.
They have sought the court apply the proceeds of the sale of Caddick’s home to be applied to the Edgecliffe mortgage.
A hearing has been set for April 28 on the issue, with a legal representative for “Investor A” successfully applying to join and contest the proceeding on behalf of investors.
The court was told there might be an “interim distribution” of funds from the sale of Caddick’s Dover Heights home to defrauded investors depending on the outcome of the April hearing.
Caddick vanished from her Dover Heights home in November 2020, a day after ASIC and the NSW Police raided the property.
Human remains found at Bournda Beach on the NSW south coast were forensically identified as those of Caddick. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage
The corporate watchdog says Caddick misappropriated investor money to fund her lavish lifestyle, with investigators seizing luxury items including jewellery, watches, designer clothing and shoes.
She was declared dead four months after her disappearance in February 2021 when a decaying foot was found on a beach 400km south of Sydney.
An ongoing coronial inquest is seeking to uncover the cause and manner of her presumed death, with findings expected to be handed down in April.
Since her disappearance, court-appointed receivers Jones Partners have unravelled the conwoman’s scam.
Earlier this year, it was revealed Caddick’s Dover Heights home sold for $9.8m.