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4 members of family plead guilty to embezzling $132K from town of Brockton

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HELENA, Montana — Four members of a family have pleaded guilty to charges related to the embezzlement of more than $132,500 from the town of Brockton on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.

Desiree Lambert, 59, pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Great Falls to fraud, embezzlement and aggravated identity theft. Her husband Bernard Lambert, 66, and adult daughters Kaycee, 35, and Kayla, 30, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the embezzlement.

Desiree Lambert was the business manager for the town. Prosecutors say she began writing municipal checks payable to herself and family members in December 2012 and forged the mayor's signature on the checks.

The money was used for gambling and to supplement the family's lifestyle, authorities said.

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 into municipal accounts.

The most recent embezzlement came two years after Lambert and her husband were released from probation in a 2007 conviction involving the embezzlement of $12,000 from the Fort Peck Tribe.

Prosecutors said 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. 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 their daughter, Kayla, who had planned to play basketball at the University of Montana but didn't pass enough classes to join the Lady Griz.

She still holds multiple state scoring records as a prep basketball player for Brockton, including 3,453 career points.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris scheduled sentencing for March 5 in the current case.

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