Campaign Treasurer to Be Charged With Embezzling Millions

Posted March 27, 2012 at 9:46pm

Updated: 11:24 p.m.

Government prosecutors indicated today they are preparing to formally charge Democratic campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee with embezzling millions of dollars from dozens of political campaigns and nonprofit organizations in California.

Durkee was arrested in early September on suspicion that she used her firm Durkee & Associates to siphon nearly $700,000 from the election campaign of California Assemblyman Jose Solorio.

Since her arrest, the scope of the probe into misused funds has grown, implicating hundreds of accounts that collectively held millions of dollars raised by county-based political party groups and lawmakers who include California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Reps. Susan Davis, Linda Sánchez and Loretta Sanchez.

Feinstein’s re-election campaign alone reported that roughly $4.5 million was missing.

The details in the government’s filing, which is called an information and used in place of a grand jury indictment, will be the first complete accounting of what is known to be the largest political embezzlement scandal to date.

Court records show at least 50 victims and a total of $7 million were involved in the case.

Documents filed earlier this week in a related property seizure case indicate that Durkee and her husband, John Forgy, are cooperating with the government’s investigation and prosecution.

Durkee and Forgy agreed on Monday that the U.S. Marshals Service could sell a piece of property they own in Burbank, Calif., that was valued at more than $600,000 in 2005. The proceeds from that sale, minus liens and unpaid taxes, will be held by the court while her case proceeds.