Dixon, IL (WIFR) -- Last April, City of Dixon comptroller Rita Crundwell was arrested on federal charges for stealing more than $53 million from Dixon residents over the course of 20 years. Today, State Representative Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) filed a package of anti-corruption legislation that will add more accountability to government offices and increase the penalties for forging state documents and theft of public funds.
“As a lifelong Dixon resident, I can personally attest to the distrust and anger this embezzlement has caused. This is a perfect example of why we must learn from the past and take steps to ensure that this kind of criminal activity doesn’t happen again,” said Demmer.
According to federal court filings, Crundwell forged state invoices and falsely claimed the state was late in payments to justify city financial shortfalls. House Bills 1561, 1562, and 1563 will require municipal and county officials to check state payments made to municipalities and counties on a semi-annual basis, require two signatures to open new bank accounts, strengthen penalties for forging state documents and provide escalating penalties for official misconduct that illegally obtains property or monetary gains for personal advantage.
“I’ve long been an advocate of transparency and accountability in government, which is why I’m proposing this legislation as the first step to help defend all Illinois cities and counties from falling victim to these kind of criminals,” Demmer said.
“We owe it to the good people of Illinois to put safeguards and double-checks in government offices and accounts. We must hold in high regard the trust people place in their government and work to earn that trust every day,” Demmer added.
By enforcing this kind of legislation, Demmer explained, municipalities and counties will have improved oversight within their offices and greater accountability for improper activity.
“We’ll take whatever steps necessary to prevent this kind of egregious crime from happening in Illinois ever again,” said Demmer.