Former School Clerk Charged with Embezzlement Appears in Court

By Beacon Staff

A woman accused of embezzling thousands of dollars in activity funds from the Kalispell’s two high schools was released on her own recognizance after an initial court appearance Friday.

Cindy Upwall, 44, voluntarily returned from California this week to face felony charges of theft by embezzlement after a warrant was issued for her arrest. Her arraignment in District Court is scheduled for March 13.

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.

Upwall is accused of embezzling $17,500 in activity funds, but prosecutors believe the actual amount taken is much greater, Flathead County Attorney Ed Corrigan said. An investigation launched by the Kalispell Police Department in December found substantially more than $17,500 in unaccounted-for cash deposits to Upwall’s bank accounts, according to a statement released by the school district.

Corrigan said prosecutors would meet with Upwall and her attorney in the coming weeks to review her financial records.