(FamilyConservationPAC.com) – A former U.S. Army Reserve officer who served as an Army financial advisor was charged criminally on July 7 for cheating Gold Star families by losing $3.4 million of their assets while earning $1.4 million in commissions. He also stole $1.4 million from the families.
Through a 10-count indictment, the U.S. Department of Justice accused Caz Craffy, 41, of Colts Neck, New Jersey, of wire fraud, securities fraud, and making false representations to defraud at least 20 Gold Star families.
The immediate family of a military service member who died while on active duty is known as a “Gold Star family.” The surviving beneficiary of this person is entitled to a death payout of $100,000 and a maximum of $400,000 in life insurance.
Army Reserve major charged with defrauding Gold Star families https://t.co/QNZuFwFlww
— Task & Purpose (@TaskandPurpose) July 9, 2023
According to reports, Mr. Craffy deceived family members into giving him hundreds of thousands of dollars in military benefits for their deceased loved ones.
According to the Justice Department, Mr. Craffy reportedly collected more than $9.9 million from Gold Star families between May 2018 and November 2022 to put into his own private brokerage accounts, which were unrelated to his job for the Army.
Then, according to the prosecutors, Mr. Craffy reportedly made more than 1,000 illicit trades in the accounts, losing more than $3.4 million while making more than $1.4 million in commissions that were taken out of the accounts.
Attorney General Merrick Garland stated that stealing from Gold Star families, whose loved ones made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country, is a terrible act.
In this instance, the defendant allegedly used his authority as an Army financial counselor to swindle Gold Star families, take their money, and profit himself, according to the indictment.
The SEC Files Charges
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has also filed accusations against Mr. Craffy, who has also gone by the name Carz Craffey, for allegedly breaking Regulation Best Interest and the federal securities laws’ antifraud provisions.
According to Gurbir Grewal, director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division,”Mr. Craffy is accused of manipulating Gold Star families to take advantage of their grief rather than assisting them in making the best use of their survivor benefits.”
He said, “These families who have given so much of themselves in the service of our nation deserve nothing less than the deepest thanks from us.”
“I am appreciative of the SEC team for making Mr. Craffy answerable for his despicable behavior and providing this amazing family with some amount of justice,” he continued.
According to the prosecution, Mr. Craffy targeted the Gold Star families. He recruited them to join his for-profit business while working as a financial advisor for the Army’s Survivor Outreach Services in New Jersey.
The Casualty Assistance Office, which offered ongoing support to the families of slain service personnel, oversees the Survivor Outreach Services.
Many of the families thought Mr. Craffy was handling their money with permission from the Army. Authorities claim that once the families placed money into brokerage accounts, Mr. Craffy made high-risk trades without their consent and lost them a significant amount of money.
According to reports, one widow who wished to save prudently for her mother’s and her children’s college costs lost 60% of her $400,000 investment, which Mr. Craffy had predicted would increase to $1 million in seven years.
Mr. Craffy occasionally covered up losses, according to Phillip R. Sellinger, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, by advising victims not to review their account records.
Natasha Bevard, a different widow whose career soldier husband committed suicide in 2020, revealed to The Washington Post that she had given Mr. Craffy roughly $370,000 to invest prudently.
“I didn’t think it was weird at the time,” she told the publication. “I had faith that this was the procedure… He seemed to care, in my opinion.”
Army was ignorant of civilian affairs
The Washington Post was informed by Matt Leonard, a spokesperson for the U.S. Army, that Mr. Craffy “did not report his other civilian employment to the Army, and the Army did not learn about any other employment until after reviewing a complaint about his actions from a family member.”
The SEC, meantime, said that Mr. Craffy took $50,000 from a 13-year-old girl’s retirement account after her father passed away in a “particularly egregious” example.
Mr. Grewal referred to the alleged deception by Mr. Craffy as “despicable in its reach” and “heartbreaking in its impact.” He hoped the accusations would warn the numerous other people who prey on military families.
“We see it time and time again,” Mr. Grewal said.
Another Army employee was accused of financial crimes before Mr. Craffy’s case.
According to federal prosecutors, 62-year-old Young Beom Kim, a former civilian worker at a South Korean U.S. Army installation, was detained in May on suspicion of taking $400,000 in kickbacks from military contractors.
From 2017 until 2021, Mr. Kim handled the Army Garrison Yongsan-Casey’s construction contracts.
According to the prosecution, he ensured that contracts for equipment like blast doors that protect Army personnel from an attack went to businesses that had given him kickbacks.
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