💸 NJ man ripped off families of fallen military members

📉 Army Reserves major profited off risky trades that lost millions

🏛 Caz Craffy guilty of federal charges

A Monmouth County U.S. Army Reserves major who also worked as an Army financial counselor has admitted to ripping off at least two dozen grieving Gold Star families, for a few million dollars collectively.

Federal charges were announced last summer against 41-year-old Caz Craffy, of Colts Neck, by U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger.

Craffy, who has also gone by “Carz Craffey,” pleaded guilty in Trenton federal court to six counts of wire fraud and one count each of securities fraud, making false statements in a loan application, committing acts furthering a personal financial interest and making false statements to a federal agency.

Caz Craffy via Facebook
(Caz Craffy via Facebook)

📉 Craffy hid private work from the Army; tricking grieving families

Craffy was a civilian employee at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, as a financial counselor in the U.S. Army's Survivor Outreach Services, from November 2017 to January 2023.

The program provides long-term support to families of fallen service members, known as Gold Star Families.

He was also a major in the U.S. Army Reserves, since enlisting in 2003.

Craffy's job was to give general financial information to surviving beneficiaries, who receive a $100,000 "death gratuity" after a service member's active duty death — as well as the soldier's life insurance payout of up to $400,000.

He was restricted from offering personal opinions regarding their financial decisions and was not allowed to take part in any government matter in which he had an outside financial interest.

Despite that, Craffy worked with two outside financial investment firms and hid that employment from the Army, according to Sellinger.

Craffy then used his position as an Army financial counselor to target military families and encourage them to invest survivor benefits in investment accounts that he managed at his other jobs.

Federal prosecutors said Craffy lied and misled the families into thinking handling their money was done with the Army’s authorization.

📉 Craffy profited off risky trades that lost millions

From May 2018 through November 2022, Craffy secured more than $9.9 million from Gold Star families to invest in accounts that he managed with his illegal private position.

He then allegedly used those millions to make unauthorized trades that drained the families’ accounts of a collective $3.4 million — while Craffy personally earned more than $1.4 million in commissions.

When the families asked about their investments or account status, Craffy often encouraged them not to check their statements, according to his federal indictment.

If they did, he often blamed losses of funds on such excuses as the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing Russian war in the Ukraine or inflation.

Trenton Federal Court (Google Maps)
(Google Maps)

🏛 Craffy now faces prison and millions in fines

Craffy has been slated for sentencing on Aug. 21.

Each wire fraud and securities fraud charge is punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison.

The securities fraud count, alone, is also punishable by a maximum fine of either $5 million or twice the gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest.

Based on the same incidents, a civil complaint was also filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Craffy has already been permanently banned from association with any member of FINRA — the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which oversees U.S. broker-dealers.

“Stealing from Gold Star families whose loved ones made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation is a shameful crime,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a written statement.

“Predatory conduct that targets the families of fallen American service members will be met with the full force of the Justice Department."

“These Gold Star families deserve our utmost respect and compassion, as well as some small measure of financial security from a grateful nation. They must be off-limits for fraudsters,” Sellinger said.

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