A financial advisor working for the U.S. Army has been indicted on multiple counts of fraud, stepping from a scheme to defraud Gold Star families out of military benefits.
Caz Craffy, a major in the U.S. Army Reserves who was working as a financial counselor for the Army, faces 10 counts, including securities fraud and six counts of wire fraud. The Department of Justice announced the indictment on Friday, July 7. According to the department, Craffy tricked families of dead service members into making poor investments, allegedly swindling them out of millions while he reaped financial gain.
Craffy, 41, was working at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. At the time he was also working for two private financial firms, which he did not disclose to the Army or Gold Star families. Through his work in the Army, he was connected with Gold Star families, getting them to put financial benefits into accounts that he managed.
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Craffy, who according to the indictment used the alias “Carz Craffey,” then made several unapproved trades with these financial firms. They paid him in commissions, which were tied to the size of the investments made. The money he received came from the accounts of the families Craffy was working with.
The trades were often not profitable. When the families approached Craffy about the losses, he made several excuses, according to the indictment, including “ the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing war in the Ukraine, and inflation generally.”
Craffy allegedly carried out this fraud and manipulation for more than four years, from May 2018 to November 2022. Over that time period he directed more than $9 million of survivor benefits into the funds he managed, netting $1.4 million in commissions while the investments had more than $3 million in losses.
Gold Star families, those who have had immediate family members die in active-duty military service, receive several benefits. Those include a $100,000 death benefit and up to $400,000 in the deceased’s life insurance. Additionally, the military provides financial counselors to assist them in managing the funds and putting them toward healthcare, education and other options.
“Stealing from Gold Star families whose loved ones made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation is a shameful crime,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement on the charges. “As alleged in the indictment, the defendant in this case used his position as an Army financial counselor to defraud Gold Star families, steal their money, and enrich himself. Predatory conduct that targets the families of fallen American service members will be met with the full force of the Justice Department.”
Craffy was also hit with a civil complaint by the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging he violated anti-fraud regulations. Additionally, Craffy is permanently barred from “association with any member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. (FINRA).”
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