Estimates now at $53 million stolen from Dixon

May 2, 2012

The city of Dixon may be out 20-million dollars more than originally thought in the case against its former comptroller. Federal prosecutors have now charged Rita Crundwell with stealing 53-million dollars over the past 22 years. In the original complaint against Crundwell, she was accused of embezzling an estimated 30-million since 2006 to “support her lavish lifestyle.”

The indictment was filed in federal court in Rockford Tuesday. It also reveals more about how federal prosecutors think Crundwell hid the money from co-workers and auditors.

Mystery account and fake invoices

The indictment contends Crundwell opened a secret bank account under the city’s name in 1990.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    She allegedly took money from city investments and capital projects and deposited it in the secret account. From there, prosecutors say, she used some of the money to care for more than 300 horses as well as other personal expenses. Crundwell is a world-renowned breeder of show horses. The indictment also says Crundwell created fake invoices so auditors would believe the money was being spent appropriately. She’s also said to have deposited state funds for the city into the secret bank account, then covered it up by telling city officials that the state was behind in its payments.

Clearance sale on horses?

If Crundwell is found to have used city funds to care for her 311 registered quarter horses and dozens more foals expected to be born this spring, the federal government can seize them and sell them at auction in an attempt to recover some of the money for the city of Dixon. Other items singled out for seizure in the indictment include:

  •          Two homes, a lot, and a horse farm in Dixon
  •          A home in Englewood, Florida
  •          A luxury motorhome
  •          More than a dozen trucks, trailers, and other farm vehicles
  •          1967 Corvette
  •          Pontoon boat
  •          $224,898 in cash

Crundwell will be arraigned May 7th in federal court in Rockford.