On Friday, Democratic campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee, 59, pleaded guilty to fraud charges involving the embezzlement of $20 million in Democratic campaign contributions in a case one prosecutor likened to that of Bernie Madoff.
“It’s the largest embezzlement scheme of a campaign treasurer–ever,” said U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner.
The political campaign clients Ms. Durkee is accused of defrauding include Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA), and others.
According to Reuters:
Prosecutors said in court documents that Durkee used money that belonged to her political campaign clients to pay expenses such as the mortgage on her condominium, visits to Disneyland, charges on her credit cards, medical bills and her own firm’s business costs….
Durkee’s written plea agreement with prosecutors said she defrauded clients of at least $7 million and as much as $20 million, and that her victims numbered between 10 and 50 clients.
Wagner said he did not believe Durkee would be able to come up with enough money in restitution to completely refund her victims.
U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said his office will seek an 11 and a half year sentence for Ms. Durkee.