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U.S. Army Financial Counselor Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Gold Star Families

Major Caz Craffy faces severe penalties after exploiting his role to mislead and profit from the families of fallen service members.

MONMOUTH COUNTY — Caz Craffy, a 41-year-old U.S. Army financial counselor and major in the U.S. Army Reserves from Colts Neck, New Jersey, has admitted to a series of fraud-related charges, including deceiving Gold Star families, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today. 

Craffy entered his guilty plea in Trenton federal court before U.S. District Judge Georgette Castner, acknowledging his role in a severe abuse of trust that led to substantial financial losses for the families of deceased servicemembers.

Craffy faced multiple charges including six counts of wire fraud, and one count each of securities fraud, making false statements in a loan application, committing acts affecting a personal financial interest, and making false statements to a federal agency. 

These charges stem from his actions between November 2017 and January 2023, during which he used his position to improperly influence the investment decisions of vulnerable families.

As a civilian employee at the Casualty Assistance Office, Craffy was tasked with providing financial education to beneficiaries of servicemembers. However, he exploited this role to recommend investments with two private financial firms where he was employed, without disclosing his conflict of interest to the Army or the families he advised. 

As a result, he managed to divert over $9.9 million from Gold Star families into accounts he controlled, leading to more than $3.7 million in losses for these families while personally gaining over $1.4 million in commissions.

The legal repercussions for Craffy are severe, with potential sentences up to 20 years for the wire and securities fraud charges, and additional penalties for the other counts. His sentencing is scheduled for August 21, 2024.

This case has also attracted the attention of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which has filed a civil complaint against Craffy, and resulted in his permanent ban from any association with FINRA members.

The investigation was a collaborative effort involving the Department of the Army Criminal Investigation Division, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), demonstrating a united front in tackling corruption and fraud affecting military families.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger praised the coordination among the federal agencies and emphasized the betrayal of trust represented by Craffy's actions, highlighting the duty to protect and respect the families who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the nation. The government's case is led by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Martha K. Nye and Carolyn Silane, specializing in criminal and economic crimes, respectively.

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