Funds stolen from CDA boat crash victims benefit

Lake CDA damaged boat (photo by Chris Kirk)

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday that a month-long investigation into the theft of funds donated to the Luhr and Honken Memorial Benefit has ended in the arrest of a 36-year-old woman.

On January 12, Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy Ken Dodge responded to a report of donated funds being embezzled from the Luhr and Honken Memorial Benefit which was held in October of 2016. The fund was established to raise money for the families of Justin Honken and Justin Luhr, two men who lost their lives in a boat crash on Lake Coeur d'Alene last July. Both men were involved in the local rodeo community and several of their friends wanted to help with family expenses.

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When the fund was established, two community members had access to the fund's bank account. Katie M. Rafter was identified as one of the members with access to the fund that had successfully raised about $30,000 during the fundraiser event. 

Investigative Task Force Detective Tamie Spitzer began looking into the finances of the fund raising effort, obtaining a search warrant for financial records, and conducting interviews.

Tuesday morning Detective Spitzer arrested Rafter for first degree theft after she developed probable cause to believe Rafter stole $14,000 from the fund for her personal gain. Rafter was booked into Spokane County Jail.

Deputies say the second person with access to the bank account was very cooperative during the investigations and provided detailed information to detectives. Investigators do not believe that second person was involved in the theft in any way.

(story:; photo: Chris Kirk)

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