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Ex-Democratic Campaign Treasurer Durkee Charged With Fraud

Senator Dianne Feinstein. Photographer: Brendan Smialowski/Bloomberg
Senator Dianne Feinstein. Photographer: Brendan Smialowski/Bloomberg

March 28 (Bloomberg) -- Kinde Durkee, a former Democratic campaign treasurer in California, was charged with mail fraud for misappropriating as much as $7 million from candidates including U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Durkee ran Durkee & Associates, which provided accounting and reporting services to candidates’ campaign committees. For more than 10 years starting in 2000, she moved client money into other accounts without authorization and used it to pay her mortgage and American Express bills, U.S. prosecutors said in a filing today in federal court in Sacramento, California.

Durkee submitted false information to federal and state campaign-finance regulators as part of the scheme, which had at least 50 victims, prosecutors said. Many of Durkee’s clients thought their campaign accounts had more money than they actually did because of the transfers, according to the filing. Over the years, Durkee had signature authority on about 700 bank accounts, including those for political campaigns.

Durkee will be arraigned and enter a plea in federal court in Sacramento March 30, according to a court filing today.

In 2010, Durkee deposited $156,000 in checks from Feinstein’s campaign committee account into her company’s account to cover mortgage payments on her home in Long Beach, California, phone bills, American Express bills and other expenses, prosecutors said.

Daniel Nixon, an attorney for Durkee, didn’t respond to a voice-mail message today seeking comment on the filing. The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Durkee in September, when she was first charged with taking money from the campaign account of a contender for the state Assembly.

The case is U.S. v. Durkee, 12-123, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California (Sacramento).

To contact the reporter on this story: Karen Gullo in San Francisco at kgullo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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