The Justice Department indicted a former Army Reserves major and financial counselor Friday for an alleged fraud scheme targeting Gold Star families — the loved ones of soldiers who died in military service.
Caz Craffy, 41, of Colts Neck, N.J., was charged with 10 crimes, including six counts of wire fraud as well as securities fraud.
“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.
“Predatory conduct that targets the families of fallen American service members will be met with the full force of the Justice Department,” he added.
Craffy allegedly used his position as a financial counselor to instruct Gold Star families to invest their government awards into accounts he managed. These families are awarded up to $600,000 in insurance and other assistance to compensate them for the loss of their loved ones.
He garnered about $9.9 million from the families and charged high fees on trades made from the investment accounts, often making the trades without the families’ knowledge or consent, the DOJ claimed in the charges.
In the four years he ran the investment scheme, the accounts lost $3.4 million on the stock market while Craffy pocketed $1.4 million in transaction fees, the indictment reads. Craffy is also under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The former staffer was a major in the Army Reserves until January. A Washington Post report in February brought the allegations against Craffy to light.
“Gold Star families are given a title no one would choose because it means they’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice for this country,” lead FBI agent James Dennehy said.
“The soldier, sailor, marine or airman they loved died during a time of conflict — defending this nation,” he continued. “They are given money and assistance to help ease the burden that comes with losing their loved one; however, no amount of money can replace what they’ve lost.”
Source: The Hill