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Ex-Campaign Treasurer Kinde Durkee Pleads Guilty To Fraud

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LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KTLA) -- The former campaign treasurer of Democratic candidates in California pleaded guilty to five counts of mail fraud today.

An FBI investigation found that Kinde Durkee stole more than $7 million in political funds from at least 50 clients.

Durkee also siphoned money from personal accounts belonging to political consultant John Shallman according to his attorney.

Prosecutors say she used the money to pay her mortgage and medical expenses for her mother as well as Dodgers tickets, gift cards, and Disneyland passes.

U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller has postponed sentencing. The maximum allowed under the plea deal is 14 years in federal prison.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) is one of several Democratic politicians who claim their campaign funds were pilfered by Durkee.

The Los Angeles County Democratic Party also reported that more than $200,000 had been taken from its fund.

Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) claims her election fund was nearly zeroed out.

State Sen. Lou Correa of Santa Ana, who has worked with Durkee since 1995, told the OC Register that he believes he may have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds.

Durkee -- who ran Burbank-based Durkee and Associates -- was arrested September 9th in Burbank by the FBI after receiving a criminal complaint from the U.S. attorney's office, according to Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office.

Durkee's website said her company has offered accounting and business management services for 5 presidential campaigns, 4 gubernatorial campaigns since 1972 and handles electronic filing for Federal Election Commission and the California Secretary of State.

State Sen. Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) fired Durkee in 2009 after an audit of her campaign fund turned up "irregular activities," the L.A. Times reports.

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