Steven Joseph Kambich Sentenced in U.S. District Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula, on April 13, 2012, before U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen, STEVEN JOSEPH KAMBICH, a 53-year-old resident of Butte, appeared for sentencing. KAMBICH was sentenced to a term of:
Probation: 5 years
Special Assessment: $100
Community Service: 200 hours
KAMBICH was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to bribery.
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.
Judges, whether elected or appointed, hold positions of trust in the eyes of the public. Steven Kambich violated that trust by accepting bribes," said Sean P. Sowards, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge for Montana. "This successful investigation was due to the cooperative efforts of our law enforcement partners - the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation."
Following KAMBICH's sentencing, U.S. Attorney Michael Cotter said, "One of the fundamental principles of our justice system is that judges are impartial, fair and unbiased arbiters of the law. Persons holding judicial office occupy a position of trust. A judge who violates the law violates the public trust, and undermines the public's confidence in our legal system. It is imperative that judges who abuse their office be held accountable for their actions. Kambich's actions would never have been uncovered without the diligent work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Criminal Investigative Division of the Internal Revenue Service. The United States Attorney's Office for the District of Montana will continue to support investigations and prosecutions of those, like Steven Kambich, who corrupt our system of justice."
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that KAMBICH will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, KAMBICH does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service.