California campaign treasurer pleads guilty to $7 million in fraud
March 30th, 2012
05:30 PM ET
11 years ago

California campaign treasurer pleads guilty to $7 million in fraud

(CNN) – A California political operative whose clients have included Sen. Dianne Feinstein pleaded guilty on Friday to defrauding her clients of over $7 million dollars over 11 years.

Kinde Durkee pled guilty to five counts of mail fraud relating to the embezzlement scheme, the Department of Justice said, and could face prison time.

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The scheme began in 2000 and ran until Durkee was first charged in September 2011, investigators said. She used money from campaign bank accounts she managed to pay personal and business expenses - including a mortgage, credit card bills, and payroll for her firm, Durkee & Associates.

To cover the withdrawals, they said she shuffled money between the accounts of her various clients, and had access to over 400 bank accounts.

Prosecutors asked for a 14-year prison sentence, although the charges carry a maximum penalty of 100 years prison time and a $1.25 million fine, a spokeswoman for the western California United States Attorney's office told CNN. Durkee is to be sentenced in June.

Durkee's firm has closed, and she has been ordered to pay restitution to her former clients.

Her attorney said Durkee is "remorseful."

"Ms. Durkee went to court today to accept responsibility for her actions," Daniel Nixon said. "She is remorseful and she recognizes that this is the first step in addressing the issues raised by the government."

– CNN Senior Producer Kevin Bohn contributed to this report

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Filed under: California
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Mark from Louisiana

    Why doesn't the headline mention that the crook is a democrat?

    March 30, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  2. Mikey

    @Mark – It was pretty easy to figure out since Feinstein. I would be nice if they listed more of her clients. Of course, one way to look at it is that she was stealing from Democrats.

    March 30, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  3. Christine

    @Mark because it is a Democrat. CNN is a Democrat don't you know.

    March 30, 2012 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  4. DEcember 2012

    Because it will make Republican's jealous

    March 30, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  5. Jariv

    I know right. If it was a Rep. they will be all over that. Stup-id i tell you...

    March 30, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "Why doesn't the headline mention that the crook is a democrat?"

    What does that have to do with anything? She robbed democrats. This wasn't a corrupt politician embezzling campaign funds. It was a corrupt random person who got herself into a position of trust and and then robbed politicians. Geesh. With the amount she stole and disappeared from Democrats' funds, you'd think you conservative meatheads would be cheering her and holding rallies to free her.

    March 30, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |