Ex-California Campaign Treasurer Kinde Durkee Pleads Guilty

Kinde Durkee operated Durkee & Associates of Burbank until her arrest in September

By Jonathan Lloyd and Juliet Williams
|  Friday, Mar 30, 2012  |  Updated 12:35 PM PDT
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CA's Political Mugs

Kinde Durkee pleaded guilty Friday in an embezzlement case involved California political campaigns.

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A former California campaign treasurer accused in what has been called the largest political embezzlement case in California history pleaded guilty Friday to looting about $7 million from accounts of Democratic candidates and political organizations

Kinde Durkee, 59, operated Durkee & Associates of Burbank, until her arrest in September. She pleaded guilty to five counts of mail fraud in U.S. District Court in Sacramento.

The plea deal carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in federal prison.

The plea brings to a close a criminal case that left several state and federal candidates with little or no campaign cash. Sen. Diane Feinstein's office reported that her campaign is believed to have lost as much as $5 million.

Feinstein and other victims have filed civil lawsuits against Durkee.

Prosecutors alleged that Durkee controlled about 700 bank accounts and embezzled money from at least 50 victims. The money went to pay mortgages on her homes, business expenses and her mother's case in a senior home, according to prosecutors.

The money also paid for personal expenses, including bills from Disneyland, Costco, Amazon.com, Ulta cosmetics and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The California Fair Political Practices Commission called the case by far the largest political embezzlement case in state history.  

Prop Zero: Lesson in Campaign Finance Reform

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