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Convicted Long Beach Campaign Treasurer Kinde Durkee Prepares For Eight Year Prison Sentence Today

Kinde Durkee

Kinde Durkee to be sentenced to prison today in Sacramento. 

By Brian Hews

Kinde Durke, the campaign treasurer from Long Beach who was convicted of felony money laundering and raiding at least 50 political campaign committees will be sentenced to prison this morning in Sacramento.

It appears that the 59-year-old will be sentenced to eight years in prison.

The Democratic Party campaign treasurer plead guilty in March to “stealing” at least $7 million from some of the biggest politicians in California and the greater Southeast Los Angeles County area including Rep. Linda R. Sanchez, Rep. Loretta Sanchez and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

At the peak of her career around five years ago, Durkee was one of the most powerful political campaign treasurers in America, and her fall from grace was felt from coast to coast.  “She robbed me blind,” Orange County Assemblyman Jose Solario said in an interview at the time of her arrest in September 2011.

“I want to thank the FBI for their diligence in bringing this criminal complaint forward. I hope this unfortunate situation is resolved quickly and everyone involved gets their money back,” Solario previously told Hews Media Group.

Over a 12 year period, Durkee misappropriated millions of dollars from clients and used the money for her own personal use.

“This sentence will reflect the seriousness of the offense, provide just punishment and afford adequate deterrence,” a sentencing memorandum filed by the U.S. attorney’s office stated.

Durkee controlled at least 400 to 700 bank accounts from politicians including the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, and even local area city council members in Hawaiian Gardens.  It is expected that at least  $2.5 million could be returned to those political committees as early Wednesday afternoon.
Prosecutors said Durkee paid for mortgages on at least two homes, and business expenses at Durkee and Associates that was based out of Burbank on health care benefits and 401(k) contributions for her employees, and for her mother’s care at a pricey board and care facility for senior citizens.
Durkee also went on a personal spending sprees with trips to Disneyland, Costco, Amazon.com, Ulta cosmetics and even to attend sporting events at Dodger Stadium and the Staple’s Center.

The case was called “by far the largest political embezzlement case in state history” and possibly the “biggest ever seen” by a spokes person at the Federal Elections Commission.

The formal sentencing is expected to take place at 11 a.m., it is not know what political figures will be attending the proceedings.  

Many legal experts believe that Durkee could be immediately placed in custody and sent to prison.

Back in September of 2011, members of the FBI and US Department of Justice told Hews Media Group that the case was “the tip of the iceberg,” and that “additional indictments could follow.”  Since then, no additional arrests were made in the case.

HMG has compiled a list of those political committees, candidates and elected officials who fell prey to Durkee’s scheme.  They include:

  • Los Angeles County Democratic Party-State Issues & Advocacy Committee
  • Los Angeles County Democratic Party
  • Hispanic Unity USA
  • Rep. Adam Schiff
  • Rep. Loretta Sanchez
  • Rep. Linda Sanchez
  • Norma Macias for Congress 
  • Michela Alioto for Congress
  • Sister Act Committee
  • Rep. Laura Richardson
  • Rep. Susan Davis
  • Los Angeles City Councilman Tony Cardenas for Congress
  • Marcie Winograd for Congress
  • MoveOn.Org Political Action
  • State Senator Curren Price
  • Senator Dianne Feinstein
  • Iranian American Democrats of Los Angeles County
  • Metropolitan Democratic Club
  • Orange County Young Dems
  • Kevin Feldman for Congress
  • Beth Krom for Congress
  • Pacific Consolidated Industries Employees Good Government Committee
  • California Democratic Council
  • Assemblyman Gil Cedillo
  • State Senator Lou Correa
  • South County Democrats UNITED