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Former financial manager of Kalispell firearms manufacturer admits to fraud

MISSOULA – A Columbia Falls woman who managed books for a gun manufacturing company in Kalispell admitted on Tuesday, June 11, to stealing approximately $159,000 from the company with a check.

58-year-old Teri Anne Bell – who has 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 to approximately December 2021, while working as a financial manager for Falkor SID Inc., a firearms manufacturing and distribution company in Kalispell, Bell stole from her employer.

Bell obtained pre-signed checks to make payments to Falkor suppliers and had access to Falkor’s bank account and its accounting software.

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

Prosecutors say Bell wrote checks from Falkor to herself or her creditors and then edited the payments in an accounting system to make them appear as if they were for legitimate business expenses.

Bell used the stolen money 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.

U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy presided and sentencing was set for October 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.

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