Rita Crundwell pleads guilty to federal count of wire fraud - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Rita Crundwell pleads guilty to federal charge of wire fraud

Rita Crundwell - File Rita Crundwell - File

The former comptroller of Dixon has admitted to stealing over $53 million from the city since 1990.

Rita Crundwell appeared in federal court in Rockford on Wednesday. There, she changed her initial plea of not guilty to one charge of wire fraud, to guilty. She also agreed that she had engaged in the illegal laundering of money, which she has not been charged with.

Crundwell also agreed that she owes full restitution to the City of Dixon in the amount of $53,740,394, minus credit received for anything she pays prior to her sentencing, which is scheduled for February 14. She is allowed to be free on bond until that date.

Since her arrest on April 17, Crundwell has agreed to liquidation of assets she acquired with funds allegedly stole from Dixon. Since then, about $7.4 million has been recovered by the U.S. Marshals Service through the auction of 400 quarter horses, cars, a luxury motor home, and other property and belongings in Illinois and Florida.

According to the plea agreement established, Crundwell admitted to opening a bank account which only she had access to, on behalf of the City of Dixon and RSCDA in December of 1990. She then transferred city funds to that account to fund her national horse breeding operation and her own lavish lifestyle.

Wire fraud carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine, or an alternate fine totaling twice the loss or twice the gain, whichever is greater. The government believes the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines will be between 15 years and eight months to 19 years and seven months, while the defense believes the advisory range should be 12 years and seven months to 15 years and eight months. Under the plea agreement, the government and defense attorneys will be able to recommend the sentence they deem appropriate.

Crundwell also faces 60 counts of theft in Lee County for the same accusations.


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