Ex-Feinstein treasurer gets prison term
[SFGate] What started as an attempt to keep a struggling business afloat a decade ago turned into the largest embezzlement of political funds in Caliphornia history, ending Wednesday with an eight-year federal prison sentence for a former campaign treasurer who stole from some of the state's most powerful politicians.

Kinde Durkee received the sentence in federal court nearly eight months after she pleaded guilty to five counts of mail fraud in connection with the scheme whose victims included Sen. Dianne Feinstein, along with other members of Congress and the Legislature.

The sentence was on the low end of the possible range of punishment - Durkee faced a maximum of 20 years for each count. She was also ordered to pay $10.5 million in restitution to her victims, who are unlikely to see much of the money because Durkee already spent it and has few other resources.

Judge Kimberly Mueller of the U.S. District Court in Sacramento called the embezzlement a "significant and egregious offense."

"I think the violation of trust ... can't be understated," Mueller said before sentencing Durkee.

Durkee, 59, who had been out on bail, offered an apology.

"I take full and complete responsibility for what I have done," Durkee told the judge, her voice breaking slightly. She was ordered to surrender to law enforcement Jan. 2.

Both prosecutors and her defense attorney said Durkee didn't use the money to fund a lavish lifestyle, but instead spent it to cover losses in her business and on mostly mundane personal expenses like her mortgage and health care for her parents.
Posted by: Fred 2012-11-30