Julie Lee pleads guilty to fraud

July 16, 2008 12:47:19 PM PDT
San Francisco fundraiser Julie Lee pleaded guilty Tuesday in San Francisco Superior Court to nine felony counts for illegally diverting state funds to the campaign of former Secretary of State Kevin Shelley, according to the San Francisco District Attorney's Office.

Lee, 62, was set to begin her superior court trial Tuesday, but instead pleaded guilty to four counts of grand theft, as well as counts of forgery, misappropriation of public funds, embezzlement, preparing false documents and making political contributions in the name of another, district attorney's office spokesman Erica Derryck said today.

Lee, a former director of the charitable non-profit San Francisco Neighbors Resource Center, in 2000 helped secure a $500,000 grant from the state Department of Parks and Recreation for the creation of a center for Asian Americans, which was never built, according to prosecutors.

Lee then used part of the taxpayer-funded grant money to reimburse five $25,000 donors to Shelley's political campaign, prosecutors said.

As a real estate agent, Lee also instructed other donors to write checks to the campaign as part of the purchase price of real estate transactions, according to prosecutors.

Lee, who faces a maximum of 14 years in state prison in the case, is scheduled for sentencing Oct. 17.

On Friday, Lee was found guilty in a federal trial in connection with the same campaign fraud.


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