3 Finance Fraudsters Who Disappeared

Contentworks Agency
4 min readAug 21, 2023

The world of finance isn’t always squeaky clean. History is littered with examples of fraudsters who have swindled people out of their cash. Some of the most notorious cases feature tricksters have disappeared into thin air. Today, we’ll have a look at 3 such mysteries, before going over the top events that probably won’t disappear off your calendar this week.

#1 Ruja Ignatova

image source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruja_Ignatova

Ruja Ignatova was the founder of the now infamous OneCoin, a cryptocurrency that was, at one time, dubbed the “next Bitcoin.”

However, OneCoin was actually a Ponzi scheme, and Ignatova disappeared with an estimated $4 billion in investor funds in 2017. She is currently on the FBI’s Most Wanted List.

Her disappearance is also shrouded in mystery. She was last seen in Athens, in October 2017. Several sightings have been reported since then, but none have been confirmed.

Some believe that she may be living in hiding in Eastern Europe, while others believe that she may have been killed.

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to Ignatova’s arrest.

#2 Melissa Caddick

image source https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-65395490

Melissa Caddick was an Australian financial advisor who defrauded around 60 clients for an estimated $30 million.

She enjoyed overseas trips on private jets, high-end cars, designer clothes, and expensive jewellery.

As new clients gave her money to invest, she would pay some out as dividends to existing clients before keeping (spending!) the rest.

Caddick disappeared in November 2020, just days after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) raided her home.

Police initially thought that she was either still alive and had gone into hiding to escape justice, or had taken her own life.

In February 2021, a single, partially-decomposed foot belonging to her was found on a beach. Cue-crazed speculation… Some believe that she committed suicide, others believe that she may have faked her own death to throw the police off her scent. There is also speculation that she may have been murdered.

The rest of Melissa Caddick has never been found…

#3 Chris Burns

image source https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/wcc/christopher-w-burns

In 2020, Chris Burns, a US-based financial advisor and radio host left home saying he was going to visit his parents. Nothing unusual, right? Wrong. Burns disappeared…

The timing of his “parental visit” was significant. He left one day before a deadline to turn over financial documents to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The agency was investigating problems with Burns’ peer-to-peer lending programme.

Burns was, of course, running because he’d committed mass fraud via his Ponzi scheme, to the tune of around $10 million dollars, leaving dozens of victims in his wake. He told his clients that he would pool their money with that of other investors and lend it to startup companies and charities.

Just before he left, he took in $320,000 from investors and moved most of it into personal accounts. He also transferred assets to his wife, Meredith, and made her sign a load of papers. Later, she realised that these were divorce papers.

3 years on, Burns is still on the run and is now on the FBIs Most Wanted list. The agent leading the chase, FBI special agent Terry Rankhorn recently said, “Once you’ve gotten yourself in the sights of the FBI, your days on the run are numbered”.

He may be missing, but the charges and indictments against him are piling up.

On April 11, 2023, a federal grand jury charged Burns with 10 counts of wire fraud, two counts of mail fraud, and four counts of money laundering.

Did we miss one?

Do you know any other twisty-turny disappearance mysteries? We’d love to hear them! Tweet us at @_contentworks.

Top fundamental events this week

It’s looking like a very quiet week in the markets. Here’s what’s coming up…

Monday

No major events are expected.

Tuesday

No major events are expected.

Wednesday

● EUR — German HCOB Manufacturing PMI Flash

Thursday

● USD — Durable Goods Orders

Friday

● EUR — German Ifo Business Climate; ECB President Lagarde Speech

● USD — UoM Consumer Sentiment Index; Fed Chair Powell Speech

Here at Contentworks we closely follow market movements and prep content that we think your traders would love to read. Let’s get you started right here.

Speak soon!

The Contentworks team

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Contentworks Agency

Contentworks Agency provides compliance friendly content to banks, forex brokers, fintechs and many other sectors.