Kinde Durkee sued by congresswomen, state senator

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Lawsuits were filed Wednesday by three members of congress and a state senator alleging that campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee stole more than $1 million from political accounts and that the bank they used aided and abetted the scheme.

Following the lead of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who had previously sued, new civil complaints were filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court by state Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) and Democratic Reps. Susan A. Davis of San Diego, Linda T. Sanchez of Lakewood and Loretta Sanchez of Garden Grove. An attorney for the four estimated their combined loss was about $1.4 million.

“A fraud on the scale alleged herein could not have occurred, and did not occur, without the knowing involvement of First California Bank,’’ the lawsuit by Correa alleges. “In exchange for fees and profits, First California Bank intentionally ignored dozens of red flags, ignored its duties and obligations under state and federal law, and allowed Durkee to perpetuate the scheme.’’

The lawsuit alleges fraud and breach of contract against Durkee and her husband, John Forgy. Durke has also been charged separately with a criminal count of mail fraud, but no charge has been filed against her husband. Durkee’s company made dozens of transfers between unrelated accounts that should have led bank officials to suspect misconduct and report it, said Wylie A. Aitken, the attorney representing the four politicians.



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--Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento