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Democratic Campaign Treasurer Accused Of Stealing From Clients Expected To Make Plea Deal

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SANTA ANA (CBS) — Democratic campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee is expected to plead guilty to stealing millions from California political clients like U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Santa Ana Assemblyman Jose Solorio.

Durkee was accused of “routinely misappropriating” funds from clients’ accounts and filing false reports with the Secretary of State and Federal Elections Commission, according to the Sacramento Bee.

The U.S. Attorneys Office has filed new charges against Durkee, who was arrested last fall, which indicates plea negotiations are in the works, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney in Sacramento told the Bee.

The 17-page complaint says the money of at least 50 victims was transferred between accounts to her firm, Durkee & Associates, without client authorization and was used to pay personal expenses, including a mortgage and credit card bills, payroll and other business expenses. Durkee allegedly squandered a combined $7 million of her clients’ money.

Durkee allegedly used $23,000 from Feinstein’s federal campaign to help pay a $30,000 American Express bill that included charges from the Los Angeles Dodgers, Amazon.com, Disneyland and Trader Joe’s grocery store.

Solorio, who prosecutors say lost more than $600,000 in the hands of Durkee, urged investigators in a statement to “be aggressive in making sure Durkee serves as many years as possible in federal prison.”

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