I-Team

Guilty plea coming in Dixon official's theft of $53 million

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Former Dixon comptroller Rita Crundwell will plead guilty on Wednesday morning to allegations she stole more than $53 million from town accounts, according to federal authorities.

Crundwell was one of the world's most prominent breeders of quarter-horses. The federal case spans 22 years and investigators say Crundwell used to the money to support her lavish lifestyle and world champion quarter-horse breeding farms.

She is also facing a Lee County case. A grand jury there has returned a 60 count indictment against the former city comptroller. In it, Crundwell is accused on state charges of embezzling nearly $11 million in city money between January 2010 to the date of her arrest last April. At that time she entered pleas of not guilty, although the evidence was so overwhelming that the federal plea deal is not unexpected. It is not known if the U.S. case will have any impact on the state case.

The change-of-plea will occur at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, Wednesday Nov. 14, 2012, before Senior U.S. District Judge Philip G. Reinhard in Federal Court in Rockford, according to an alert from federal prosecutors.

Following the court proceeding, Gary S. Shapiro, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; William C. Monroe, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Darryl McPherson, United States Marshal for the Northern District of Illinois, say they will be available to speak with members of the media.

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