Additional charges filed in Kinde Durkee case
[Updated at 10:40 p.m. Tuesday] Campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee faces five counts of mail fraud involving $7 million in losses by 50 political committees and candidates, including U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, according to court documents filed by federal prosecutors Tuesday.
A hearing on the charges is scheduled for Friday in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, and sources familiar with the investigation said prosecutors were trying to work out a plea deal in the case.
The U.S. attorney's office in Sacramento declined to immediately release details of the charges. Spokeswoman Lauren Horwood sent out a statement announcing, "Charges filed in Durkee case.'' In addition, she said, "This is to inform you that an information was filed today in U.S. District Court in the case against Kinde Durkee. We have no further comment at this time.'' The filing was not immediately available from the court.
State Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), one of her alleged victims, said he wants a stiff penalty if she is allowed to plead guilty. "It depends on what her sentence is,'' he said when asked to comment on a possible plea deal. "She took $8 to $10 million from people.''
Durkee was arrested Sept. 2 and charged with mail fraud in a case alleging that in 2010 she misused $677,000 from the campaign account of Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana). Prosecutors continued the investigation because Durkee oversaw about 360 campaign accounts for about 100 candidates, including Feinstein and Correa.
Responding to reports of a possible plea bargain, Solorio said in a statement, "I'm pleased the FBI's investigation on my behalf and hundreds of other victims has found success. I've asked that the FBI be aggressive in making sure Durkee serves as many years as possible in federal prison.''
Durkee is also facing civil lawsuits by Feinstein, Correa and others, and attorneys in those cases were in court Monday to try to reach a settlement with the bank she used, according to Atticus N. Wegman, an attorney for Correa. Daniel Nixon, an attorney for Durkee, did not respond to a phone call and email for comment Tuesday.
[Updated at 11:10 p.m. Tuesday:] "Kinde Durkee routinely misappropriated client funds by moving without authorization substantial sums of money out of client accounts, including political campaign accounts, into Durkee and Associates' or into other clients' accounts,'' the new court filing says.
Money taken from Feinstein went to cover $3,400 in mortgage payments for Durkee's Long Beach condo, medical bills, Disneyland tickets and charges involving the Dodgers.
--Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento and Richard Simon in Washington, D.C.
Photo: Kinde Durkee faces one federal mail fraud charge. Credit: Henry Vandermeir / Associated Press