Politics

California Democratic Campaign Treasurer Pleads Guilty To Looting $7 Million

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Kinde Durkee

Kinde Durkee (U.S. Marshals Service)

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SACRAMENTO (CBS/AP) – A former California campaign treasurer has pleaded guilty to looting the accounts of dozens of Democratic candidates and political committees.

Kinde Durkee entered the plea to five counts of mail fraud charges Friday in U.S. District Court in Sacramento. The plea deal carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in federal prison.

It ends a criminal case that erupted publicly with her arrest last September and left candidates with little or no money in their campaign accounts.

Durkee now faces civil lawsuits by U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and other victims.

Prosecutors say she embezzled roughly $7 million from at least 50 former clients, including members of California’s Democratic congressional delegation, state lawmakers and various political organizations.

Court filings say the money went to pay mortgages on Durkee’s homes, various business expenses that included health care and 401(k) contributions for her employees, and an array of personal expenses. She rang up bills from Disneyland, Costco, Amazon.com, the Los Angeles Dodgers and others.

Neither Durkee nor her attorney had spoken publicly since her arrest.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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