Southern California breaking news and trends

Kinde Durkee pleads guilty to looting $7M from CA political accounts

kinde durkee

California Democratic Council, Henry Vandermeir/AP

Former California campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee has pleaded guilty to looting $7 million from Democratic candidates and political committee accounts.

Her plea, entered Friday in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, includes five counts of mail fraud and carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in federal prison. 

This signals an end to the criminal case that began with her arrest last September, however she now faces civil lawsuits by U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and other victims.

Federal prosecutors say Durkee defrauded at least 50 candidates.

U.S. Rep. Susan Davis told her contributors in a letter released last September that her campaign was looted of over $250,000 at the hands of Durkee.

"My sense is that it was a pyramid type of endeavor here," Democratic strategist Chris Lehane said on the Madeleine Brand Show last fall.

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Political operative Durkee, who allegedly embezzled $8 million from California politicians, likely to plead guilty

Kinde Durkee

California Democratic Council, Henry Vandermeir/AP

Kinde Durkee is being charged with costing Southern California Democrats hundreds of thousands of dollars, siphoned from their campaigns.

Political operative Kinde Durkee is expected to plead guilty to embezzlement later this week in a plea deal, Politico reports. Durkee was the treasurer for numerous California Democrats; she allegedly stole more than $8 million from her clients. None of the money has been recovered to date.

Those clients included California's senior senator, Dianne Feinstein. Durkee had ties to hundreds of state, local and federal campaigns.

Among the money she allegedly embezzled is $4.5 million from Feinstein's Senate committee, $660,000 from a California state lawmaker's campaign account and more. Several of the affected politicians have filed suit against Burkee and the bank where their reelection money was being kept, First California Bank. Feinstein replaced the money for her campaign from her own pocket by cutting a $5 million check.

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