| U.S. Department of Justice
WILLIAM W. MERCER
United States Attorney
District of Montana
P.O. Box 1478
Billings, MT 59103
Kurt Alme, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the
District of Montana
Desiree Dean Kirn Lambert and Bernard John Lambert, Jr. Plead Guilty in U.S. Federal Court
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Great Falls on October 19, 2006, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, DESIREE DEAN KIRN LAMBERT, age 51, and BERNARD JOHN LAMBERT, JR., age 58, residents of Busby, pled guilty. Sentencing is set for February 5, 2007. They are currently released on special conditions.
DESIREE LAMBERT pled guilty to fraudulent claims, federal student loan/grant fraud, and theft from an Indian tribal organization. BERNARD LAMBERT pled guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States.
In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
The Office of the Inspector General for the Department of the Interior received information that DESIREE LAMBERT, Director of the Department of Education for the Fort Peck Tribes, had criminally misapplied federal funds by authorizing payments to her husband, BERNARD LAMBERT, ostensibly for writing grants on behalf of the Fort Peck Department of Education.
Testimony would have been provided that from November of 2001 to December of 2002, DESIREE LAMBERT authorized four payments to BERNARD LAMBERT, who at that time, was Superintendent of the Brockton School District. The four payments totaled $12,000, which was payment for writing ten grant applications on behalf of the Fort Peck Department of Education. The grant applications BERNARD LAMBERT had been paid to write were for grants from various corporations and a 21st Century Grant from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). However, investigation revealed through contact with the various corporations and the DOE, that none of the grant applications that BERNARD LAMBERT had been paid to write were ever received or funded.
DESIREE LAMBERT was interviewed and admitted that $8,500 of the $12,000 was paid to her husband so that they could pay the college tuition for their daughter. She stated that BERNARD LAMBERT wrote all of the grant applications for which he was paid. DESIREE LAMBERT further stated that the Education Department did not receive any of the grants for which BERNARD LAMBERT wrote applications. She advised it was her responsibility to ensure the grant applications were mailed to the appropriate entities. DESIREE LAMBERT also claimed to be in possession of the diskette that BERNARD LAMBERT submitted that contained all of the grant applications; however, the diskette was never provided to the Department of Interior.
BERNARD LAMBERT was also interviewed and admitted that $8,500 of the $12,000 paid to him by his wife was so they could pay the college tuition for their daughter. He also stated that he wrote all of the grant applications that he was paid to write. He claimed he submitted all ten of the grant applications on a single diskette to DESIREE LAMBERT in February or March of 2003. He further stated he was still in possession of the diskette which contained all of the grant applications. He repeatedly stated that he would provide this diskette to the Department of Interior, but to date has not done so.
Further testimony would have shown that when DESIREE LAMBERT applied for financial aid for college for her daughter, she submitted a tax return indicating that she was the sole source of family income. However, at that time, BERNARD and DESIREE were married, living together, and BERNARD was making approximately $60,000 per year as the Superintendent of the Brockton School District. Testimony would have also shown that the tax return which was submitted was false as BERNARD and DESIREE LAMBERT did not file tax returns for that year or any other year.
Additional testimony would have been provided to show that DESIREE LAMBERT gave her daughter a Department of Education cell phone and that over $900 in charges for that phone was paid for by the Fort Peck Tribes.
DESIREE LAMBERT faces possible penalties of 5 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release. BERNARD LAMBERT faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Carl E. Rostad prosecuted the case for the United States.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of the Interior.