Crundwell Scandal Inspires Anti-Corruption Bills

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ILLINOIS (WIFR) -- Prison is where Rita Crundwell will be for a long time and the ex-Dixon Comptroller’s massive theft has sparked new legislation to prevent similar crimes in the future.

Representative Tom Demmer grew up in Dixon and Crundwell’s nearly $54 million theft frustrated him, so he put it into writing; a set of anti-corruption bills that will soon go to committees for discussion.

There are three bills. One would require two signatures to open a municipal account that would also require officials to check state payments twice a year. This is because in Crundwell’s case, she faked nearly 160 State invoices. The second bill would make it a felony to forge state documents and the third bill would increase the severity of a felony charge based on how much money is stolen.

"No single bill or package of bills is going to prevent these things from happening in the future but if you shine light from enough direction and close loopholes and get enough outside sets of eyes on any process I think you greatly improve the integrity of that process,” said Rep. Tom Demmer.

As mentioned above, one of the bills would require two signatures to open a city account. In Crundwell’s case, there were two signatures when she opened a secret bank account. U.S. attorneys said the city clerk signed her name but she told the feds when she signed her name that secret account was not listed on the document.

Concerning some questions we’ve received about Crundwell’s sentencing and the restitution involved, Crundwell will owe what she stole, nearly $54 million dollars. That money would go back to the City of Dixon. The judge also imposed what’s called a forfeiture judgment, in the same amount, nearly $54 million. The forfeiture judgment is a form of punishment. It also gives the government a greater tool to pursue any future assets in case Crundwell somehow gets more money or other hidden assets are found. In total we’re looking at about $107 million.

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