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Madoff of Campaign Treasurers': Calif. Dem Charged With Embezzling $8M

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Kinde Durkee, once a top California Democrat campaign treasurer, has been formally charged with scamming $8 million from political candidates and organizations in the Golden State, Reuters reports.

If she is found guilty of the charges brought against her, it would make this the largest embezzlement case in U.S. election history.

There were at least 50 victims of Durkee's fraudulent accounting, according to the additional charging documents filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) alone was taken for about $5 million.

“Senator Feinstein's campaign sued Durkee in a related case...for fraud and breach of contract in a lawsuit that also accused First California Bank of aiding that fraud,” Reuters reports.

Although Durkee was arrested in September, 2011 (when she was first referred to as the “Madoff of campaign treasurers”), authorities have not been able to locate or recover any of the missing millions.

What, exactly, was she doing with all that cash?

Apparently, she used her clients’ campaign cash to pay her mortgage, buy baseball tickets, pay off charges on her credit card (including charges from Disneyland and Amazon.com), and pay her own firm's business expenses, according to Newser.

And here’s something else to consider: the investigation into Durkee’s alleged fraud has frozen the coffers of dozens of Democrat politicians in California  -- during an election year. This has left some scrambling for campaign cash while other have been forced to pay out-of-pocket (Sen. Feinstein personally cut her campaign a $5 million dollar check to replace the missing money).

Durkee is looking to cut a plea deal, according to Politico:

Federal prosecutors will recommend that Durkee, who will also plead guilty to at least five counts of fraud, be sentenced to from 11 to 14 years in prison, the sources added.

The disgraced campaign treasurer is expected to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Friday.

(H/T: WFB)

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