Steven Joseph Kambich Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula, on January 13, 2012, before U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen, STEVEN JOSEPH KAMBICH, a 53-year-old resident of Butte, pled guilty to bribery. Sentencing has been set for April 13, 2012. He is currently released on special conditions.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
The FBI received a referral in March 2008 that Silver Bow County City Judge Steve Kambich was accepting bribes - usually in the form of cash or checks - for dismissing traffic and other misdemeanor tickets. The FBI initiated an investigation, obtained bank records, and conducted several interviews. The interviews and records corroborated the original report and agents documented at least four cases of bribery, three in 2008 and one in 2009.
In January 2008, KAMBICH dismissed a ticket for no insurance, second offense, in exchange for $250. He also dismissed a speeding ticket on the condition that the recipient of the ticket allow KAMBICH to place a campaign sign on the recipient's property.
Also in January 2008, KAMBICH dismissed another no insurance ticket in exchange for $400. The recipient of the ticket wrote the check to "Butte Silver Bow," but KAMBICH crossed out that information and wrote "Steve KAMBICH" in its place.
In July 2009, KAMBICH dismissed a ticket for driving on a suspended license, and faxed documentation to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get the license reinstated, in exchange for $300 in cash.
On July 27, 2011, KAMBICH was interviewed by agents from the FBI and IRS. He admitted during the interview that he had accepted money on approximately ten occasions in exchange for dismissing tickets. He said he was paid between $100 and $300 each time he dismissed a ticket. KAMBICH's financial records reflect unexplained cash deposits into his bank accounts in 2008 in the amount of approximately $13,900, indicating that he accepted bribes on more than ten occasions and in an aggregate amount of at least $5,000.
KAMBICH faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service.
U.S. Attorney Michael Cotter said "there are few positions in the law more powerful than that of a judge. Judges have the authority to change individual lives with their actions. Former Silver Bow County City Judge Steve Kambich pled guilty today in Federal Court to accepting bribes - usually in the form of cash or checks - for dismissing traffci and other misdemeanor tickets. The prosecution of Kambich sends a strong message that public corruption will not be tolerated and when detected it will be prosecuted."
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.