The former comptroller pleaded not guilty to stealing $53 Million from the City of Dixon IL. Dixon is noted for the place where former President Ronald Reagan lived as a boy, in Illinois. The city itself is a small city that is located along the Mississippi River that is about a two hour drive from Chicago, IL.
Dixon is mostly farm country with about 16,000 people that are largely lower middle class, who work at the factories, grain farms and the local prison and also a hospital.
Rita Crundwell probably would not have been caught if she had not taken an extended vacation and a co-worker that was filling in for her, stumbled upon her secret bank account.
Rita Crundwell led a lavish life style that was funded by the theft of $53 Million that she had stolen. She created one of the nation's formost horse breeding operations.
Prosecutors have sold over 10 million dollars in her property, which is only a drop in the bucket, of the amount of money that she stole. They are continuing to sell other jewelry and asset that she had to get some of the money back to the citizens of Dixon, IL.
She bought luxury homes and vehicles, and spent millions on her horse breeding operation. She had RC Quarter Horses, LL, which produced 52 world champions in exhibitions run by the American Quarter Horse Association. It is hard to believe that her salary, which was less than $100.000 financed her lavish life style. The people in Dixion should have questioned where did the money come from.
The Prosecutors have alleged that since 1990 the 58 year old Crunwell stole more than $53 Million from Dixon, when she was overseeing public finances as the city comptroller since the 1980s. She was very clever by setting up a personal account, and misleading city officials.
The Prosecutors have also filed a lawsuit seeking 311 registered quarter horses and dozens of foals that are expected to be born this spring. The Prosecutors have also announced that in a lawsuit, that they plan to have the horses sold and to give the proceeds to Dixon. IL.
The State's Attorney of Dixon will be meeting in court on March 4, to determine if they plan to further prosecute her. They are going to assess the cost of another trial, and if she goes to prison, and the payment for her imprisonment. They stated on her trail in Rockford, IL at the Federal Courthouse that they would be confiring with the city officials, as to what course of action would be taken.
Rita Crunwell was represented by Paul Gaziano a public defender, who asked Judge Reinhard to grant her some leniency, since she had cooperated with the authorities. She received about 20 years for imprisonment. She would be approximately 77 years when she has completed her sentence of 19 1/2 years in the federal prison.
Rita Crunwell is said to have committed one of the worst thefts in the history of the State of Illinois as a public official. Citizens from Dixon came up for Crunwell's trial in Rockford, IL.