Treasurer Convicted of Fraud
A Democrat campaign treasurer accused of defrauding the campaign war chests of US Senator Dianne Feinstein and other California politicians was sentenced to eight years in prison and ordered to pay $10.5 million in restitution on Wednesday.
Kinde Durkee, who controlled the funds of some 400 political candidates and groups, was arrested in September 2011 and charged with criminal mail fraud. She pleaded guilty in March as part of a deal with federal prosecutors.
Durkee, 59, appeared in the US District Court for the Eastern District of California and was ordered by Judge Kimberly Mueller to spend 97 months in federal custody and pay $10,529,915.76 in restitution.
Mueller said the loss of campaign funds "certainly" affected the democratic process and shook the faith of citizens who had made campaign donations...
The arrest of the longtime treasurer for Democrat politicians left the campaigns of a number of elected officials in disarray.
Prosecutors have said in court documents that Durkee used money siphoned from her 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.
Feinstein has said in documents filed with the Federal Election Commission that she lost at least $4.5 million to Durkee.
Mueller ordered Durkee to undergo mental health treatment while incarcerated, saying she would have to learn to "avoid behavior patterns that led to this situation."
Both the judge and Durkee's lawyer, Daniel Nixon, declined to elaborate on the nature of Durkee's mental health issues.
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