Ex-state trooper sent to prison for four years in bribery case

A former state trooper who sold accident reports for thousands of dollars was sentenced Thursday to more than four years in prison.

Kirk Chambers, who resigned as a Florida Highway Patrol trooper in March, pleaded guilty in May to an extortion conspiracy charge in Miami federal court.

Chambers, who worked the north end of Miami-Dade County, moonlighted for years as a corrupt source of information on car accidents for “pirate” tow-truck drivers, according to federal prosecutor Anthony Lacosta.

In his plea agreement, Chambers admitted that he schemed with a local towing operator, Guillermo “Tony” Sepulveda, to sell hundreds of confidential accident reports for $6,200 to a fictitious "Russian chiropractor" in a sting operation run by the FBI.

Chambers, who became a state trooper in 2004, was convicted of accepting $5,000 in bribes in the undercover operation. Chambers made more than $48,000 a year as a trooper.

Sepulveda, accused of pocketing $1,200 in the alleged scheme with Chambers, also pleaded guilty in May. He was sentenced to three years in prison earlier this month.

Florida law prohibits the release of crash reports to third parties before a 60-day period. Providing access to such reports within that time frame is unlawful for the purpose of soliciting business, such as towing, auto repairs or medical care.

Chambers and Sepulveda were arrested in April as part of an FBI investigation into Miami-Dade tow-truck operators suspected of paying bribes to police officers, public service aides and FHP troopers “to steer illicit business in their direction,” according to a criminal affidavit written by FBI special agent Donald Morin.

During the probe, investigators have learned that “corrupt” local police officers, aides and troopers “can earn money by misusing their official position to assist ‘pirate’ wreckers,” Morin wrote in the affidavit.