GREAT FALLS — Four members of a Montana family have been sentenced to federal prison on charges related to the embezzlement of more than $132,500 from the town of Brockton on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.
Desiree Lambert — the town’s 59-year-old former business manager — received a term of almost four years during a recent hearing in Great Falls before U.S. District Judge Brian Morris. She pleaded guilty in November to fraud, embezzlement and aggravated identity theft.
Prosecutors say she forged the mayor’s signature to write municipal checks payable to herself and family members.
Authorities said the family spent the money for gambling and household items.
Lambert’s husband, Bernard, received a 20-month term with three years of supervised release. Daughter Kaycee, 35, received six months in prison followed by six months in-home confinement and daughter Kayla, 30, received five months in prison followed by five months in-home confinement. The three had previously pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the embezzlement.
To conceal the theft, Lambert told prosecutors, she transferred into municipal accounts nearly $130,000 in federal money the town received to augment its public safety budget.
The embezzlement came two years after Lambert and her husband were released from probation in a 2007 conviction in another embezzlement case in which $12,000 was taken from the Fort Peck Tribe.
Lambert, then the director of the Fort Peck Department of Education, provided checks to her husband, who was then superintendent of the Brockton School District, supposedly to write 10 grant applications on behalf of the education department. The applications were never turned in and the Lamberts provided no proof they were ever written, prosecutors said.
Desiree and Bernard Lambert were each sentenced to a year in prison in the case. Desiree Lambert was ordered to pay nearly $14,000 in restitution and her husband was ordered to repay $12,000.
The couple acknowledged that $8,500 of the $12,000 went to pay tuition for daughter Kayla, who planned to play basketball at the University of Montana but didn’t pass enough classes to join the Lady Griz.