Former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell pleaded "guilty" in federal court Wednesday morning.
Crundwell originally pleaded "not guilty" in May of this year to one count of federal wire fraud.
Crundwell is accused of stealing $53-million from the city of Dixon over more than twenty years. That money was allegedly used to support a lavish lifestyle as an internationally-known horse breeder.
With her guilty plea, prosecutors avoided a lengthy trial and federal marshals are able to auction off all of Crundwell’s remaining possessions: from houses to jewelry to a ’67 Corvette. Auctions of horses and equipment have so far netted nearly $7.5 million. Proceeds will be returned to the city of Dixon’s coffers, but are expected to fall far short of $53-million.
Sentencing in her federal case is scheduled for February 14th.
Crundwell is also accused of sixty counts of theft in Lee County. She entered a "not guilty" plea in that case October 31st.
Press release from the Department of Justice: http://www.justice.gov/usao/iln/pr/chicago/2012/pr1114_01.pdf
The full plea agreement: http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/516109/crundwell-plea.pdf