The corporate watchdog has dropped all charges against Sydney fraudster Melissa Caddick more than five weeks after her foot washed up on the NSW far south coast.
Two campers found human remains in a running shoe belonging to the 49-year-old businesswoman on sand at Bournda Beach, south of Tathra, on February 21.
The mother was facing 38 charges, including falsely claiming she had a financial services licence and other fraud-related offences.
But the offences were dropped when the case was heard before Magistrate Michael Crompton at Sydney’s Downing Centre on Tuesday.
Lawyer Emman Farroukh, who is representing the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), said withdrawing the criminal charges would enable the civil case to proceed.
“We will seek leave to refile the charges if she does reappear,” Ms Farroukh said.
“There are reports that she may be deceased.”
The NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has previously said he is satisfied Ms Caddick is dead, although it will be ultimately up to the coroner to decide.
An warrant had been issued for her arrest, but it was dropped on Friday ahead of ASIC’s intention to drop the charges.
Ms Caddick disappeared from Dover Heights in November only hours after Federal Police raided her $7 million home.
She was under investigation for allegedly stealing more than $20 million from dozens of investors, including close friends and family.
They thought their life savings were being put into profitable share portfolios.
Instead, Ms Caddick was allegedly using the money to fund a lavish lifestyle, which included oversees skiing holidays, purchasing designer clothes, jewellery, and luxury cars.
The civil case against Ms Caddick returns to the Federal Court next month when a judge is expected to appoint liquidators to sell her assets.
Investors are hoping some of their hard-earned money will be able to be recovered, although the full amount is unlikely.