Embezzlement from vulnerable adult leads to guilty plea, probation

News File Photo The Alpena County courthouse appears in this August 2021 News archive photo.

ALPENA – A helper who stole thousands of dollars from a man debilitated by a stroke won’t have to serve jail time, thanks in part to the compassion of her victim.

Natasha Kaercher, 33, pleaded guilty in December to embezzling from the bank account of an older man for whom she ran errands and performed other household tasks.

Kaercher’s unapproved withdrawals from the man’s account began shortly after a stroke landed him in a nursing home, public conservator Nicki Janish said at Monday’s sentencing hearing in Alpena’s 26th Circuit Court.

Kaercher’s employer, who knows about the theft, has entrusted her with a managerial position, and Kaercher has worked to be able to pay back most of the more than $20,000 she stole, said defense attorney Julie Miller.

In a statement on behalf of the victim, Janish said the theft has taken away not only the man’s money but also his trust in the people on whom he has to rely for his care.

In a visit to the man at his nursing home last week, Janish had to tell the man he had to sell his house to pay his bills, Janish told the court.

The man told her he was upset about the house, but he was also worried about Kaercher’s children.

“He broke down in tears,” Janish told Judge Ed Black, “and said, ‘I’m not the only victim.'”

Sentencing Kaercher to three years of probation, Black admonished the defendant that sympathy for her children would not keep him from putting her in jail should she violate probation.


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