Woman accused of embezzling $14K from memorial fund

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SPOKANE — A Cheney woman was arrested for allegedly embezzling $14,000 from a memorial fund for the families of two men killed in a Lake Coeur d'Alene boating accident.

According to Spokane County court documents, Katie Rafter, who handled finances for the Luhr and Honken Memorial Benefit, used the money to buy a Cheney-based tanning salon. She has been charged with first-degree theft.

The Oct. 8 fundraiser at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds — a rodeo benefit that raised nearly $30,000 — was in memory of Justin Luhr, 34, and Justin Honken, 21, who died in a July 30 boating accident.

Another passenger on Luhr's boat, Caitlin Breeze, 21, was also killed in the two-boat collision.

Before the money was distributed to the Luhr and Honken families, Rafter allegedly made multiple deposits into her personal banking account and took out cashier's checks payable to the owner of the tanning salon.

According to court documents, Rafter told detectives the money was used to "pay off debts and purchase a business."

Rafter made her first appearance in court Wednesday. Her arraignment is slated for Feb. 28.

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