Democratic Campaign Embezzler Pleads Guilty

Kinde Durkee, the campaign treasurer for a host of California Democratic candidates, pleaded guilty in Sacramento to mail fraud in what authorities say was a $7 million  embezzlement scheme from 50 clients, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Durkee, 59, of Long Beach, admitted to what is believed to be the largest embezzlement by a campaign committee treasurer ever prosecuted, according to U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner in the Eastern District of California.

Her firm, Durkee & Associates, specialized in accounting and campaign reporting services to political committees for both state and federal officials, including campaign committees.

Between 2000 and 2011, Durkee defrauded clients and routinely stole client funds and submitted false information of the California Secretary of State, according to Wagner.

She plead guilty to five counts of mail fraud.

Among the more prominent Democrats she was accused of ripping off were Reps. Loretta Sanchez of Garden Grove, Susan Davis of San Diego, state Sen. Lou Correa and Assemblyman Jose Soloria, both from Santa Ana.

She controlled 700 bank accounts for 100 political candidates and groups.

Prosecutors say she withdrew money to pay her mortgage, business expenses, medical bills and bought tickets to Dodgers baseball games and Disneyland.

Her sentencing is scheduled for June 20 before U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller in Sacramento.

The maximum sentence by statute is 20 years on each count, but the actual sentence will take into account sentencing guidelines.

Case:  U.S. v. Durkee,  No. # CR12-123KJM

 

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