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Tue April 30, 2013
State Dismisses Its Case Against Crundwell
Lee County prosecutors have dismissed state charges against Rita Crundwell, the former Dixon comptroller who is serving a federal prison sentence for stealing more than $50-million dollars from the city. The decision regarding the state's case was approved by a judge during a brief hearing Tuesday.
In February, Crundwell was sentenced to nearly 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty in that case.
Lee County State's Attorney Anna Sacco-Miller says because any state sentence would have been shorter, and would have run concurrent with her federal term, she would not have received any additional penalty.
"I believe part of my job is to protect taxpayer money, and by further prosecuting the case with no further penalty, I believe that would be a misuse of public funds" Sacco-Miller said.
Sacco-Miller estimates they saved roughly 300-thousand dollars by not moving forward with the case. She says says the state initially filed charges because prosecutors had been told that Crundwell might receive a lighter punishment at the federal level.
Prior to the announcement, Crundwell's attorney argued that subjecting her to another trial could amount to double jeopardy. On Tuesday, he applauded the state's decision.
Lee County prosecutors do have the option re-filing the charges within a two-year period, should Crundwell win an appeal of her federal sentence.
Crundwell's crimes resulted in plenty of anger in Dixon. But resident Joyce Gibson says she agrees with the state's decision, and she hopes the rest of the community does as well:
"If people understand the reasons for the dropping [of the charges], I don't see how they could see it any other way" Gibson said.
Dixon's mayor Jim Burke, who initially wanted the state to move forward with its case despite the federal sentencing, said prosecutors made the right call.