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Army financial counselor pleads guilty to defrauding Gold Star families of nearly $10M

A former Army Reserve major and financial counselor has pleaded guilty to defrauding Gold Star families of nearly $10 million, the U.S. attorney’s office announced Tuesday.

Caz Craffy, of Colts Neck, N.J., pleaded guilty to garnering about $9.9 million from the families through investment accounts he managed for them.

The Gold Star family accounts lost more than $3.7 million, while Craffy earned $1.4 million in commissions during the four-year scheme, prosecutors say.

Gold Star family members are direct beneficiaries of payments following family members’ death from active military duty. The beneficiary can get a $100,000 payment and the deceased members’ life insurance of up to $400,000.

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“Those who target and steal from the families of fallen American servicemembers will be held accountable for their crimes,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

“Nothing can undo the enormous loss that Gold Star families have suffered, but the Justice Department (DOJ) is committed to doing everything in our power to protect them from further harm.”

Craffy pleaded guilty Tuesday to six counts of wire fraud and one count each of making false statements, securities fraud, making false statements to a federal agency, and committing acts affecting a personal financial interest, the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a press release.

“Caz Craffy admitted today that he brazenly took advantage of his role as an Army financial counselor to prey upon families of our fallen service members, at their most vulnerable moment,  using lies and deception,” U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said in a statement.

The former Army Reserve major was charged last July.

His sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 21.

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