Tangled financial web emerges in fraud case against Kinde Durkee
In defrauding at least 50 politicians and others of more than $7 million, campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee spun a tangled financial web to cover her business payroll and mortgage payments and try to stay ahead of investigators, while also paying for Disneyland tickets and other amenities, federal prosecutors allege.
Durkee is scheduled to appear in federal court this week to face five counts of mail fraud. Court papers filed Tuesday, which are typically submitted when a plea bargain is in the works, provide the most extensive details yet of an alleged scheme to take money from the campaigns of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, state Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) and other politicians.
In one instance, Durkee took money from Feinstein’s account to cover $12,000 in payroll expenses for her bookkeeping company and to help make the $5,500 mortgage payment for her Burbank business, according to court documents filed by federal prosecutors. Another time she dipped into Feinstein’s account to cover a $3,400 mortgage payment for Durkee's Long Beach condo, as well as for credit card charges to Disneyland and the Dodgers, according to the court documents.
One alleged victim was Board of Equalization member Jerome Horton. The court documents filed by federal prosecutors said that Durkee took $200,000 from Horton's campaign bank account between Decemberr 2006 and April 2008, but she repaid the account in June 2010 when she became "aware that she was under investigation" by the state Fair Political Practices Commission over her handling of the account.
To help repay Horton's account, Durkee took $25,000 from Feinstein's committee, $30,000 from the re-election campaign of Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) and $15,000 from the re-election committee of Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Lakewood), according to the court documents.
In a separate court filing this week, Durkee and her husband, John Forgy, agreed to let federal marshals go through with a forfeiture sale of her business office at 1212 S. Victory Blvd. in Burbank, with the money to be held for disbursement by the court. The couple owe $660,000 on the mortgage and face $17,000 in tax liens on the property, the filing said.
--Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento