Former School Clerk Charged With Embezzlement

By Beacon Staff

KALISPELL (AP) – Criminal charges have been filed against a woman who had previously admitted to stealing $17,500 in activity funds from the city’s two high schools.

Cindy Upwall, 44, was charged Wednesday with embezzlement and a warrant was issued for her arrest. She is believed to be in California.

“We may not ever know how much money was taken,” said Flathead County Attorney Ed Corrigan. “But we’re satisfied it was considerably more than $17,500.”

Prosecutors say Upwall took the money, mostly cash from game receipts, between February 2003 and November 2007, first from Flathead High and then from Glacier High when the new school opened in the fall of 2007.

The theft was discovered after a new employee working with Upwall at Glacier High noticed some undeposited checks Upwall wrote to Flathead High School from 2003 and 2004. Audits revealed about $15,000 was missing from student activities funds.

Upwall resigned as activities bookkeeper when she was told she would be placed on paid leave during the audit.

The school district’s attorney advised officials at that time not to pursue charges against Upwall and to focus instead on getting the money back. She has repaid more than $14,000, school officials said.

“The decision to file charges was made because … she committed a theft, but more importantly because she violated the public’s trust,” Corrigan said.

He said it was premature to say if Upwall will be asked to pay more restitution.

Corrigan said he expects Upwall will return to Kalispell voluntarily.