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HomeLocalU.S. Army financial counselor pleads guilty to defrauding Gold Star families

U.S. Army financial counselor pleads guilty to defrauding Gold Star families


Army Reserve financial counselor accused of defrauding Gold Star families


Army Reserve financial counselor accused of defrauding Gold Star families

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A United States Army financial counselor could face decades in prison for duping the families of fallen soldiers out of millions of dollars and, in turn, generating millions for himself through a life insurance scheme, authorities said.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Tuesday that Caz Craffy, who is also known as Carz Craffey, pleaded guilty to six counts of wire fraud and other criminal charges including securities fraud, making false statements in a loan application, committing acts affecting a personal financial interest and making false statements to a federal agency.

The 41-year-old from Colts Neck, New Jersey is scheduled to be sentenced in district court on Aug. 21. The maximum penalties for the charges include 20 years in prison for each count of wire fraud and securities fraud and five years in prison for the remaining charges, the Justice Department said in a news release. Craffy could also be ordered to pay fines as high as $7 million — twice what his victims lost in the financial scam — for all counts but one.

Craffy worked as a civilian employee in the Army between November 2017 and January 2023, serving as a financial counselor with the Casualty Assistance Office, where he was mainly responsible for educating the surviving beneficiaries of soldiers killed in action about their financial options, according to the Justice Department. Those beneficiaries could have rights to as much as $500,000 from the military. In addition to this adviser role, Craffy was also a major in the U.S. Army Reserves.

Authorities say that Craffy was prohibited as a military financial counselor from providing any advice based on his personal opinions to beneficiaries, who are called Gold Star families for the award given posthumously to service members who have died while on active duty. But, as he operated a private investment firm in secret, Craffy encouraged the families to invest their survivor benefits in accounts that he managed without notifying the Army.

The Gold Star Families Memorial Monument, located outside on the grounds of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, is viewed on June 26, 2021, in Simi Valley, California.
The Gold Star Families Memorial Monument, located outside on the grounds of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, is viewed on June 26, 2021, in Simi Valley, California.

George Rose/Getty Images


Most of the families were under the impression that Craffy, as their financial adviser, was offering guidance that had already been approved by the military when in reality he steered more than $9.9 million of their benefits into accounts that he used to make trades without their consent. Craffy earned commission from those trades, which were not always in the beneficiaries’ best interests. Gold Star families lost over $3.7 million during the scheme, while Craffy received more than $1.4 million in commissions taken out of their accounts. He admitted to these allegations as part of the guilty plea, according to the Justice Department.

Craffy was indicted last July for defrauding 20 Gold Star military families, CBS New York reported at the time, citing investigators working the case. Gurbir Grewal, director of the SEC Division of Enforcement, said in a statement once charges were brought that Craffy had “abused” his positions within the Army network “to manipulate grieving family members into transferring their life insurance and family survivor benefits … into brokerage accounts he managed,” according to CBS New York.



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