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Former Kalispell firearms manufacturer finance manager admits to wire fraud

A Columbia Falls woman faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release
Russell Smith Courthouse
Posted at 1:02 PM, Jun 11, 2024

MISSOULA — A Columbia Falls woman who managed books for a Kalispell firearm manufacturing business admitted to taking money from the company on Tuesday, June 11.

Teri Anne Bell, 58 — who pleaded guilty to wire fraud — faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release, according to U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich.

The government alleged in court documents that from May 2018 until about December 2021, Bell — who worked as a finance manager at Falkor SID Inc.

Bell was given pre-signed checks to make payments to Falkor vendors and also had access to Falkor’s bank account and its accounting software.

According to a news release, in the fall of 2021, Falkor’s owners suspected Bell was stealing money and a financial audit determined that Bell completed 45 unauthorized transactions totaling $159,131.

Prosecutors say 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.

U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy presided and sentencing was set for Oct. 8, 2024. Bell was released pending further proceedings.

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