Columbia Falls Woman Admits to Stealing Money from Firearms Manufacturer in Check Scheme

Teri Anne Bell, the former finance manager at Falkor Sid Inc., pleaded guilty to wire fraud in federal court

By Maggie Dresser
Freshly minted pistol caliber carbines rest on a cart at Falkor Defense firearms and aerospace manufacturing facility in Kalispell on Oct. 22, 2020. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

A 58-year-old Columbia Falls woman who prosecutors allege stole $159,000 from the Kalispell firearms manufacturer where she was employed as the company’s finance manager pleaded guilty today to wire fraud in federal court in Missoula, according to the U.S Attorney’s Office.

Teri Anne Bell entered the guilty plea before U.S. District Court Judge Donald W. Molloy. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for Oct. 8, and she was released pending further proceedings.

According to court documents, Bell worked as the finance manager for Falkor Sid Inc., a firearms manufacturing and distribution business in Kalispell, and stole from her employer between May 2018 and December 2021.

As part of her professional duties, Bell received pre-signed checks to facilitate payments to Falkor vendors. She also had access to the company’s bank account and accounting software.

Falkor’s owners suspected she was stealing money from the company and conducted an audit, which determined that Bell completed 45 unauthorized transactions, totaling $159,131, according to charging records.

Bell wrote checks from Falkor to herself or her creditors and then edited the payments in an accounting system so they appeared to be for legitimate business expenses, records state. She used the stolen funds for personal expenses, including hotels in Las Vegas and at Quinn’s Hot Springs, while also making 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 the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation.