Woman Accused of Pop Warner Theft Pleads Not Guilty

Rachel Owens was taken into custody at Guajome Park Academy where she works as a math teacher

A Vista woman accused of stealing more than $100,000 from a local Pop Warner program pleaded not guilty to charges Thursday.

Rachel Owens, 41, is being held on a $300,000 bond, charged with three counts of identity theft and 20 counts of grand theft.

Owens, who served as the treasurer for Vista Pop Warner Football and Cheer from October 2013 to November 2015, allegedly stole more than $100,000 from the accounts she managed.

Owens was arrested Wednesday morning and booked into the Vista Detention Facility. She has denied all charges against her, and her next court appearance is scheduled for March 4.

She was taken into custody at Guajome Park Academy where she works as a math teacher. However, she was not arrested in a classroom or in front of children, officials said.

The superintendent described Owens as a non-permanent teacher on probation. She is now on administrative leave.

Lt. Greg Rylaarsdam with the Cyber Financial Crimes Unit said it appears Owens moved money around between several bank accounts.

"We're trying to get money back if we can get money back," he added. "Anything that we could possibly recover would go to a good use."

Vista Pop Warner has had to reach out to the public to ask for donations to survive what it described as a “huge misappropriation of funds at the hands of a former board member.”

A statement from the youth football league claims, "The loss of funds has crippled the organization."

The league believes the theft began in March 2014 and continued through late fall 2015.

In order to continue operations, VPW said it needs donations to pay back creditors owed.

Rylaarsdam said the league cooperation and their records helped detectives make an arrest in such a short amount of time.  

He added that detectives were looking into the possibilty that there may be other victims.

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