News Column

Ill. Comptroller to Plead Guilty of Embezzling $53 Million

Nov. 13, 2012

Former Dixon, Ill., comptroller Rita Crundwell plans to plead guilty Wednesday to a federal fraud charge that alleges she siphoned more than $53 million from the small northwestern Illinois city's coffers, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The office released a statement saying Crundwell will change her plea to guilty at a hearing Wednesday morning before U.S. District Judge Philip G. Reinhard in federal court in Rockford.

It was unclear from the release how Crundwell's guilty plea to the federal charge will impact separate state charges she faces for the same wrongdoing. She also faces 60 counts of theft tied to her alleged embezzlement from the city's accounts.

Crundwell is accused of stealing the money over two decades and using it to sustain a lavish lifestyle and a nationally renowned horse-breeding operation.

Federal authorities have auctioned off about 400 horses and a luxury motor home that Crundwell allegedly bought with the stolen city funds. If Crundwell is convicted, much of the money will be returned to Dixon -- after the federal government takes its cut for caring for the horses for months.

Source: Copyright Chicago Tribune 2012

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