Small Town Treasurer Stole More Than $53 Million, Feds Claim

Rita Crundwell

DIXON, Ill. -- The former financial officer for the small northern Illinois city of Dixon stole millions of dollars more than originally thought, federal prosecutors said Tuesday as they announced plans to try to seize Rita Crundwell's trucks, boats, horses and even theunborn foals she owns.

A federal grand jury on Thursday returned an indictment charging Crundwell with one count of wire fraud for allegedly siphoning more than $53 million from the city of 16,000 since 1990 into a secret account she controlled. Prosecutors originally alleged she had taken $30 million.

Prosecutors contend that Crundwell used the money to pay for a lavish lifestyle as she worked as comptroller in Dixon, the boyhood home of the late President Ronald Reagan.

Prosecutors filed a civil lawsuit Thursday seeking 311 registered quarter horses and dozens of foals that are expected to be born this spring. A news release announcing the suit said prosecutors plan to sell the horses and "apply the proceeds toward restitution to the city of Dixon." Prosecutors said the horses are subject to forfeiture because Crundwell either bought or "maintained them with criminal fraud proceeds."

At the same time, the indictment seeks criminal forfeiture of two residences, a horse farm in Dixon and a home in Florida. It also seeks a $2.1 million motorhome, more than a dozen trucks, trailers, motorized farm equipment, a pontoon boat, and cars, including a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette roadster. The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of more than $224,000 in cash from two bank accounts.

Federal prosecutors allege Crundwell created phony invoices that she characterized as being from the state of Illinois. She then allegedly put that money from a city account into another account, which she repeatedly used for personal use.

According to the news release, she said she used the state's much-publicized dire financial straits to her advantage, telling city officials that the state was late in payments as a way to conceal her transfers of funds and her spending.

If convicted, Crundwell faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

The former comptroller will be arraigned May 7 in U.S. District Court in Rockford. Crundwell's attorney was not in his office Tuesday and in a recorded message he said he would not be back in the office until Wednesday. Crundwell couldn't be reached; the phone rang unanswered at a listing for her.

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Robert T

Take a look a the giant pensions funds - all kinds of graft to be had there. What a scam pensions are for the taxpaying public.

November 15 2012 at 4:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Daphine Johnson

When so many cities are going broke it may not be a bad idea to audit all cities who find themselves in debt! Usually all use outside auditors but there should be a mechanism in place to go back years and audit the books! It is sad for this town!

September 20 2012 at 9:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Don't get all upset -- she's only been doing this for 22 years, that's all.... And NO ONE to watch over her and have doubts about her lavish lifestyle ?????!!!! My GOD !!!!!!!

August 09 2012 at 2:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
In My Opinion Only

Get China's snipers over to her cell when she arrives there and exceute her! $53 million is many lifetimes of hard work and taxpayers' money not well spent!

May 07 2012 at 3:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
In My Opinion Only

If convicted, Crundwell faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, [I add this...times six!]

May 07 2012 at 3:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just to calm the rabid, she is a GOP supporter and DIxon is a very 'red' part of Illinois.

May 07 2012 at 12:25 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

20 years that's it? 53 Million and the max he can get is 20 years? That's really pathetic.

May 06 2012 at 11:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

She stole 53 million or so, and has been charged with ONE COUNT OF WIRE FRAUD?

May 06 2012 at 10:49 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

53 milion! Who was in charge of this city to let this get so out of hand? If she was dipping her hands in the till how money other people have been doing this.. This makes no sense.

May 06 2012 at 10:43 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Sounds like someone was not paying too much attention to what was going not understand why it took so long for this to be discovered.....I guess as long as it was not discovered and she got by with stealing the money....she must have thought she was safe and could continue the mission....I hope she gets exactly what she deserves.....

May 06 2012 at 10:05 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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