MainStreetMontana.com
June 11, 2024

MISSOULA —A Columbia Falls woman who managed books for a Kalispell firearm manufacturing business today admitted to stealing approximately $159,000 from the company in a check scheme, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

The defendant, Teri Anne Bell, 58, pleaded guilty to wire fraud. Bell faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy presided. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing was set for Oct. 8. Bell was released pending further proceedings.

In court documents, the government alleged that from May 2018 until about December 2021, Bell, while working as a finance manager for Falkor SID Inc., a firearm manufacturing and distribution business in Kalispell, stole from her employer. Bell was provided pre-signed checks to make payments to Falkor vendors and had access to Falkor’s bank account and its accounting software. In the fall of 2021, Falkor’s owners suspected Bell was stealing money from the company, and a financial audit determined that Bell completed 45 unauthorized transactions totaling $159,131 in Falkor funds. Bell wrote checks from Falkor to herself or her creditors and then edited the payments in an accounting system so that they appeared to be for legitimate business expenses. Bell used the stolen funds for personal expenses, including hotels in Las Vegas and at Quinn’s Hot Springs, payments to retail and liquor stores, collection agencies and streaming services.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Karla E. Painter is prosecuting the case. The FBI and Flathead County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation.