Mt. CU Repays Stolen Funds

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Montana FCU has agreed to repay funds stolen from the Great Falls Community Food Bank by its executive director.

The credit union and its insurer, CUNA Mutual Group, agreed to pay the local charity $121,000 which was embezzled through a credit union, Cicosta CU, which was merged into Montana FCU in November 2001.

Wally Berry, president of the $75-million credit union, said they agreed to pay the funds, even though it was not clear Cicosta CU was liable, in order to put an end to the adverse publicity. "We have maintained from the very beginning we did not want this to go to trial," Berry said. "We certainly didn't need any more bad publicity that would link our name to it."

Berry emphasized that his credit union was not involved in the embezzlement case and that none of the restitution came from Montana FCU, but CUNA Mutual. "We did not pay a penny," he said.

The former executive director of the food bank, Alan Reavley, 57, was sentenced to prison in March for the embezzlement scheme which may have drained as much as $200,000 from the food bank. Under the scheme, Reavley would cash checks made out to the food bank at the credit union and draw them as money orders, which he then used to support a lavish lifestyle. As a result of the bond claim, CUNA Mutual has seized property and bronze statutes owned by Reavley.

Reavley was fired in April 2002, after he was charged with theft for cashing the checks at the credit union, rather than with the food bank's own bank.

The embezzlement came to light while authorities were investigating Reavley for a 1964 double homicide in which Great Falls grocer Jim Arrotta and his wife Lois were killed. Reavley has since been charged with both murders.

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