Dixon's comptroller was arrested Tuesday by FBI agents in regards to charges that she defrauded the city of Dixon of over $3.2 million in public funds since last fall.
Rita A. Crundwell, 58, has allegedly misappropriated over $30 million in city funds since 2006 to fund her own lifestyle that includes operating a horse farm. As comptroller, she handled all of Dixon's finances. She has held the position since the early 1980s.
Federal agents executed several search warrants in regards to the case on Tuesday. The contents of two bank accounts, seven trucks and trailers, three pickup trucks, a $2.1 million motor home, and a Ford Thunderbird convertible were all seized.
Crundwell was reported to law enforcement by Dixon Mayor James Burke last fall after a city employee filled in for Crundwell while she was on vacation. The employee requested all of the city's bank statements and found a questionable account that showed three deposits totaling $785,000, 84 checks drawn totaling $360,493, and 40 withdrawals totaling $266,605. The account's primary holder is the City of Dixon, however, a joint account holder was listed as RSCDA, and checks written on the account listed the holder as R.S.C.D.A, C/O Rita Crundwell. Mayor Burke was unaware the account existed.
Between September 2011 and February 2012, Rita Crundwell allegedly caused various tax funds totaling $2,783,912 that were deposited into a city account to be moved to various other city accounts. Most of that money was eventually transferred to Dixon's Capital Development Fund account. Between September 2011 and March 2012, 19 checks totaling $3,558,000 were written by Crundwell on the Capital Development Fund account and made payable to "Treasurer". Those checks were deposited into the account that listed RSCDA as a joint holder. Crundwell then allegedly took $3,311,860 out of the account and used only $74,274 for city operations. The remainder of those funds was allegedly used for Crundwell's own personal and business expenses.
An FBI investigation also showed that Crundwell allegedly deposited a total of $30,236,503 of city funds into the RSCDA account from July 2006 to March 2012 and used over $30 million of that money for her own expenses. Those expenses include purchasing several trucks as well as paying off over $2.5 million in charges on her personal American Express credit card account that included charges of over $339,999 for jewelry alone.
Crundwell has been charged with wire fraud, and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine or an alternate fine totaling twice the loss or twice the gain, whichever may be greater.
She is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge P. Michael Mahoney in U.S. District Court in Rockford at 3 p.m. on Tuesday.
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