Woman accused of hiding money raised at charity game

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A woman accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from Kalamazoo Strong also faces accusations from the family of a heart transplant patient whom she offered to help.

The family of Spencer Powell, a Portage teen who gained social media attention for his positive approach to a heart transplant in 2016, told 24 Hour News 8 that Rachel Kaiser offered to host a charity game through the Kalamazoo Cobras in November of that year. Proceeds from the game were advertised as helping his medical bills. He had a successful transplant a few days before, but family made it a point to be at the game to discuss his recovery.

The family walked away with a little more than $150 from bracelets they sold for $2 a piece, but when they tried getting in touch with Kaiser for the remaining proceeds, she didn't return their calls.

Since that day, the Powell family only received $12 from her, and ultimately let go of asking for the donations. It's not clear how much money was actually raised during the game, but it was well attended.

On Thursday, 24 Hour News 8 learned Rachel Kaiser faced accusations from Kalamazoo Strong and the Kalamazoo Cobras organizations. Representatives from both groups reported their suspicions to Portage police in January 2017.

Last Tuesday, an officer made a probable cause statement in front of a judge. The year-long investigation found Kaiser appeared to take roughly $4,000 from Kalamazoo Strong and a police report states she took $10,000 from the Cobras.

"Throughout almost all of 2017 there was an ongoing investigation involving search warrants of her residence, trying to get records from various banks and credit card companies," the officer said in the probable cause statement.

Despite a warrant being authorized last week, Kaiser has yet to appear before a judge to be formally arraigned. She moved to West Bloomfield sometime after she was confronted about the embezzlement.

Calls to her and an attorney listed under a business her husband established last year were not returned. That business -- KSI Engineering LLC doing business as HPA Systems -- no longer has a working website or Facebook page, according to online searches.

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs told 24 Hour News 8 they have no information on any profits for the business, which was organized in July.

Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting would not talk about specifics of the case, but did speak generally with 24 Hour News 8 Friday afternoon.

"Everybody has to be a little patient with the process," Getting explained. "Nothing can happen until she either turns herself in or is taken into custody, as with any criminal case."

Calls to police on the east side of the state were not returned, so it’s unclear if another agency is working to arrest Kaiser or if she will turn herself in.

Kaiser also volunteered with the PTO at a Portage elementary school years ago, but their audit found no irregularities in their finances, according to a district spokeswoman.

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