Hudson Valley military mom one of several Gold Star families allegedly scammed by Army financial counselor
A Hudson Valley military mom who lost her son to suicide was among multiple victims allegedly scammed by an Army representative accused of targeting Gold Star and grieving families.
Kim Ryan’s son, Army Specialist Ryan Kettel, died by suicide while he was active duty in 2018.
“My son had me as the sole beneficiary and it was $400,000,” says Ryan.
Ryan was grieving his loss when she was allegedly scammed by an Army financial counselor who was supposed to help.
“He said, ‘I have your interests in mind.’ That’s what he said to me in fully military garb,” says Ryan. “You felt like you could trust him.”
Ryan, who lives in Wurstboro, says Major Caz Craffy, from Colts Neck, New Jersey, reached out to her just days after her son's death and got her to privately invest all his Army death benefits with him.
“He aggressively played it on the market and invested in Canadian cannabis, Facebook, Walmart and Disney,” Ryan says.
Ryan is one of six parents that Craffy is accused of misleading and stealing from. He was brought up on federal charges and indicted in July. Court documents allege Craffy made $1.4 million from grieving families in stock trades he was never supposed to make.
“Stealing from Gold Star families whose loved ones made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation is a shameful crime,” says Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “As alleged in the indictment, the defendant in this case used his position as an Army financial counselor to defraud God Star families, steal their money, and enrich himself. Predatory conduct that targets the families of fallen American service members will be met with the full force of the Justice Department.”
Ryan says she first noticed something was wrong shortly after she invested her money with him when she wanted to buy a house.
“I wanted to take a portion out to buy a home and he’s like, ‘No. Mortgage your house and take out a loan.’”
Ryan says she was eventually able to get back $260,000 but lost the rest in stock market fees and commission that went to Craffy in the alleged scheme.
Craffy is facing multiple charges including wire fraud, securities fraud and making false statements to a federal agency.
“I was grieving my son too much. He knew that. He knew who to prey on,” Ryan says.
Federal officials say Craffy took a total of nearly $10 million in death benefit payments from grieving families.
If guilty, he could face more than 20 years in prison. News 12 reached out to Craffy's attorney but did not immediately receive a response.