Army Financial Counselor From NJ Charged With Defrauding Families of Fallen Soldiers
A Monmouth County financial counselor with the U.S. Army and major in the U.S. Army Reserves who allegedly defrauded two dozen Gold Star families has been indicted.
U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger's office says 41-year-old Caz Craffy, a/k/a “Carz Craffey,” is charged with 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.
When a member of the Armed Services dies during active duty, his or her surviving beneficiary, now a member of a Gold Star family, is entitled to a $100,000 death gratuity and the soldier’s life insurance of up to $400,000.
To assist the beneficiaries, the military provides a number of services to the servicemember’s family, including the assistance of a financial counselor.
According to federal authorities, from November 2017 to January 2023, Craffy was a civilian employee of the U.S. Army, working as a financial counselor with the Casualty Assistance Office. He was also a major in the U.S. Army Reserves, where he has been enlisted since 2003.
Craffy was responsible for providing general financial education to the surviving beneficiaries. He was prohibited from offering any personal opinions regarding the surviving beneficiary’s benefits decisions. Craffy was not permitted to participate personally in any government matter in which he had an outside financial interest. However, without telling the Army, Craffy simultaneously maintained outside employment with two separate financial investment firms.
According to officials, Craffy used his position as an Army financial counselor to identify and target Gold Star families and encouraged them to invest their survivor benefits in investment accounts that he managed in his outside, private employment.
Based upon Craffy’s false representations and omissions, the vast majority of the Gold Star families mistakenly believed that Craffy’s management of their money was done on behalf of and with the Army’s authorization.
From May 2018 to November 2022, Craffy obtained more than $9.9 million from Gold Star families to invest in accounts managed by Craffy in his private capacity. Once in control of this money, Craffy repeatedly executed trades, often without the family’s authorization. These unauthorized trades earned Craffy high commissions.
During the alleged scheme, the Gold Star family accounts had lost more than $3.4 million, while Craffy personally earned more than $1.4 million in commissions, drawn from the family accounts.
Homeland Security Investigations Newark Special Agent in Charge Ricky J. Patel said in a statement, "Craffy disgraced the position he was entrusted in to care for our nation’s military families when he allegedly took advantage of them during a vulnerable time of grief."
If convicted, Craffy faces decades in prison and massive fines.
The public is reminded that charges are accusations and all persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.