California News

Feinstein estimates embezzlement loss at $4.7M

Saturday, October 15, 2011
Kinde Durkee, Sen. Dianne Feinsteins former campaign treasurer, is believed to have embezzled millions of dollars from candidates.

Kinde Durkee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein's former campaign treasurer, is believed to have embezzled millions of dollars from candidates. (KABC Photo)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein's re-election campaign said she is missing nearly $4.7 million because of unauthorized disbursements by her former campaign treasurer, Kinde Durkee.

Feinstein's campaign on Friday filed its first report with the Federal Election Commission since Durkee's arrest last month.

Feinstein's campaign reported that it has nearly $6 million in the bank, but that's mostly due to a $5 million loan Feinstein injected into the account after the embezzlement case broke. The campaign believed it had nearly $5.2 million in an account with First California Bank going into July, but that account is now showing only $662,100.

In the 184-page report, Feinstein's campaign noted $4.6 million in "unknown disbursements," plus a $100,000 unauthorized disbursement on Aug. 31, just a couple of days before Durkee's arrest. The campaign said it didn't know where the $100,000 came from or where it went.

Durkee was arrested on Sept. 2. She's accused of stealing money from the accounts of several political committees, including Feinstein's.

Rep. Susan Davis was also a client. She lost about $250,000 and believes Durkee could become the Bernie Madoff of her profession.

Federal prosecutors say Durkee siphoned off nearly $700,000 from a California candidate to pay her credit cards, a mortgage and business bills.

A complaint outlines an elaborate shell game in which Durkee furtively shifted money out of state Assemblyman Jose Solorio's 2010 campaign to pay for an array of debts, from shopping at Costco to her mother's care at an assisted-living facility.

Durkee was scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 19 to enter a plea on the charges.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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finance, fraud, california state senate, california news
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