An investment counselor vanishes with $6 million of his clients’ money.
At 9:30 PM on June 8, 1985, a yacht was sighted drifting just off the shore of Lake Michigan. Its occupant was apparently in danger. Officer Wayne Brooks of the Zion Police Department responded to the 911 call:
The owner of the yacht was 42-year old investment counselor Woody Kelly. No sign of Kelly, or his body, has ever been found.
In 1975, Woody Kelly and his family settled near Lake Michigan in the small Illinois town of Antioch. At first, the Kellys lived in a modest neighborhood, but after he began an investment business, the family’s fortunes began to change. They moved to a mansion near a local lake. According to Antioch’s mayor, Robert Wilton, Woody Kelly quickly became one of the town’s most respected citizens:
Woody was a dedicated family man and often invited his new friends and neighbors to his luxurious home. Soon, many of his personal friends became business clients. One of the principal clients of Woody’s investment company was veterinarian Daniel Osgood:
Woody was able to promise and deliver an amazing 16 to 19 percent interest on his investments. And as his business flourished, so did his lifestyle. He owned four luxury cars, two airplanes, three different homes, and six boats. As a hobby, he even started a yacht charter service. On June 8, 1985, Kelly showed up at a yacht dealership to check on a new boat he had just purchased. David Kelly was the service manager working that day:
Kelly headed north towards Waukegan, Illinois, about 20 miles away. He told his family he would be home by 6:00 PM. However, Woody Kelly never returned. Over the next few days, the Coast Guard retraced Kelly’s route. When they found his sunglasses on the boat, they assumed he had accidentally fallen overboard. However, his body was never found. After this unusual disappearance, the town of Antioch was saddened. But as time passed, sadness turned to shock, and then anger. Evidence surfaced showing that Woody Kelly was more than a genial financial wizard… much more. The same week that Kelly disappeared, a client filed a civil suit accusing him of improper business practices. After Kelly vanished, Detective Dan Collin from the Lake County Sheriff’s Department became involved in the investigation:
When Kelly’s records were scrutinized, they showed that the bulk of the investors’ money had gone directly into his pocket. Almost six million dollars was missing. One of those investors was Dorothy Scichowski:
Seven years after Kelly disappeared, his wife tried to have him declared legally dead. At the hearing, two acquaintances testified that they had seen him after he disappeared. Not only was Woody Kelly not declared dead, but a federal grand jury indicted him on 18 counts of mail fraud and two counts of IRS fraud. There’s a warrant out for his arrest.