My stomach still churns when I think about the moment I discovered that Jeremy Crawford — working in cahoots with his wife, Amy, and parents, Dave and Shirley Crawford — had taken me for more than $4.6 million.
I was on the rooftop deck of a swanky Arizona hotel — attending a lavish party that my money was footing. It was supposed to be the global launch for KULTiD, an innovative software app that Jeremy had touted as the next Facebook. Though the software app concept was powerful and real, it had been delivered half-baked and surrounded by lies. Yet the millions of dollars I had invested were gone — much of it siphoned off by Jeremy and Amy, who now sported several six-figure luxury cars and an ocean-side condo in California.
I had heard about the devastating emotional toll white-collar crimes take on its victims. But it wasn’t until I was a victim myself that I understood just how engulfing the devastation really is. I felt like I had been gutted and then ground to bits in a food processor. It’s one thing to be robbed by a stranger. It’s altogether different when the thief is someone you trusted and loved.
I immediately set to work, hiring the best attorneys I could find and launching an all-out legal assault. It didn’t take long for the judge to see Jeremy for what he was. But despite numerous judgments against him and a hefty $10,000 a day fine, Jeremy flagrantly ignored court orders. He took advantage of lax laws and a lengthy appeals process to drag things out. And when the system finally began to close in on him, he fled to Canada from the U.S. to avoid being jailed for ongoing contempt of court.
It was a maddening, exhausting process. But after a relentless, eight-month legal fight, I finally cornered Jeremy and managed to get back everything there was left to get. At first, my focus was on getting justice for myself. But by the time I wrapped up my personal legal battle, I realized I was just getting started. Because when my case against Jeremy hit national news, dozens of people contacted me to tell me they, too, had been conned by Jeremy and the extended Crawford clan. The stories they shared were heartbreaking. Some had been stripped of their life savings. Others had been ruined financially and were still working to repair their credit. And like me, their trust had been destroyed. The difference was that they didn’t have the enormous financial resources an ongoing legal battle requires or the extended free time necessary to get justice.
It’s hard to comprehend why there are such huge gaps in our legal system when it comes to addressing white-collar crime. But the reality is that little is done to stop serial con artists like Jeremy, whose repeated scams and frauds span nearly twenty years and have already ensnared more than a hundred people.
It was this realization that made me take up the fight. Someone has got to shine the spotlight on the devastating impact of white-collar crime so we can stop these criminals in their tracks. Given the enormous financial gift I have been given, I view it as my responsibility.
I hope you will join me in this movement. If you’ve been a victim of white-collar crime or know someone who has, please report it and share your stories here.