Federal Grand Jury Indicts Former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell for Allegedly Stealing $53 Million Since 1990; Property to be Seized if Found Guilty

By: From the US. Dept. of Justice
By: From the US. Dept. of Justice

Click here to read the official indictment

Click here for a list of Rita Crundwell's 311 quarter horses intended to be seized

Click here to read the horse forfeiture complaint

Feds: Ill. City Comptroller Stole Millions More

DIXON (AP) -- Federal prosecutors say in an indictment that a former financial officer for the city of Dixon in northern Illinois stole millions more than an initial investigation had uncovered.

Tuesday's indictment accuses Rita Crundwell of stealing more than $53 million from the city since 1990. In an initial criminal complaint filed upon her April 17 arrest, prosecutors had accused her of siphoning $30 million in public funds to a secret account she controlled.

Crundwell is accused of using the money to fund her successful horse-breeding operations and a lavish lifestyle that included expensive jewelry and luxury vehicles.

The former comptroller will be arraigned May 7 in U.S. District Court in Rockford.

The theft stunned the small city of 16,000 people.

DIXON (WIFR) -- According to a grand jury indictment, Dixon's ousted comptroller is accused of stealing more then 53 million dollars from the city since December of 1990. She was previously accused of stealing 30 million dollars.

That's considerably higher than initial reports indicated. 58-year-old Rita Crundwell was arrested two weeks ago today on a single count of wire fraud. She has since been released and is schedule to appear in court on Monday.

DIXON (WIFR) -- The former comptroller of the City of Dixon, Ill., Rita A. Crundwell, was indicted today for allegedly fraudulently obtaining more than $53 million from the town since 1990 and using the proceeds to finance her horse breeding business and lavish lifestyle.

A federal grand jury returned a single-count indictment charging Crundwell with one count of wire fraud, announced Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-In-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Since Crundwell was arrested on April 17 and accused of misappropriating more than $30 million since 2006, further investigation resulted in the indictment’s expanded allegation that the fraud exceeded $53 million and spanned more than two decades.

Crundwell, 59, of Dixon, who served as comptroller since 1983 and handled all of the city’s finances, was released on her own recognizance on April 18. She will be arraigned at 10:30 a.m. on May 7 before U.S. Magistrate Judge P. Michael Mahoney in U.S. District Court in Rockford.

The indictment seeks criminal forfeiture of $53 million as well as numerous assets that were seized from Crundwell when she was arrested. On a parallel track, the United States today filed a civil lawsuit alleging that 311 quarter horses owned by Crundwell are subject to civil forfeiture because she purchased and/or maintained them with criminal fraud proceeds. The government will seek eventually to sell the horses and apply the proceeds toward restitution to the City of Dixon.

“The government is pursuing both criminal and civil forfeiture proceedings to ensure that every available tool is being used to recover proceeds of the alleged fraud in order to recoup as much money as possible for the City of Dixon, its residents and taxpayers,” Mr. Fitzgerald said. The investigation is continuing, he added.

Dixon, with a population of approximately 15,733, is located about 100 miles southwest of Chicago.

Crundwell owns RC Quarter Horses, LLC, and keeps her horses at her ranch on Red Brick Road in Dixon and at the Meri-J Ranch in Beloit, Wis., as well as with various trainers across the country. In addition to 311 registered quarter horses, dozens of foals are expected to be born this spring. As part of the civil lawsuit, the government requested a pretrial restraining order that will secure the government’s interest in the horses and allow officials to take necessary steps to ensure the animals’ health and well-being, including veterinary and dietary care, which has been ongoing. The U.S. Marshals Service is expected to hire a contractor to manage the horses.

The indictment seeks criminal forfeiture of two residences and the horse farm in Dixon, a home in Englewood, Fla., a $2.1 million luxury motor home, more than a dozen trucks, trailers and other motorized farm vehicles, a 2005 Ford Thunderbird convertible, a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette roadster, a pontoon boat, approximately $224,898 in cash from two bank accounts, and other assets allegedly purchased with fraud proceeds. Many of these assets were seized when Crundwell was arrested, and the government today requested a restraining order on the real estate that is allegedly subject to criminal forfeiture.

According to the indictment, on Dec. 18, 1990, Crundwell opened a bank account in the name of the City of Dixon and RSCDA, known as the RSCDA account. Between December 19090 and April 2012, Crundwell used her position as comptroller to transfer funds from the Dixon’s Money Market account to its Capital Development Fund account, as well as to various other city bank accounts. Crundwell allegedly repeatedly transferred city funds into the RSCDA account and used the money to pay for her own personal and private business expenses, including horse farming operations, personal credit card payments, real estate and vehicles.

As part of the fraud scheme, Crundwell allegedly created fictitious invoices purported to be from the State of Illinois to show the city’s auditors that the funds she was fraudulently depositing into the RSCDA account were being used for a legitimate purpose. To conceal the scheme, Crundwell told the mayor and City Council members that the state was late in its payments to the city, when, in fact, she knew that she had fraudulently transferred the funds for her own use, the indictment alleges.

Wire fraud carries 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 is greater. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The government is represented in the criminal case by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph C. Pedersen, and in the civil case by Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Paccagnini.

The public is reminded that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to an indictment by a federal grand jury and a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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  • by Hobby Horse Location: Virginia on May 30, 2012 at 10:24 PM
    I think McKillips is as pure as the driven snow, he's been gettin' a bad rap on the web....someone said they heard his son was sellin "Free Rita" T-shirts last week up in Madison......
  • by hobbyhorse Location: virginia on May 9, 2012 at 07:01 PM
    anyone know how Jim McKillips is handling all this mess ? It must be crazy to one day wake up with the Feds in your stall....of course, if he's got nothing to do with any of this, he must be sleeping soundly. Sure got a nice BBQ setup, maybe he's cooking to pass the time ???
  • by Jerry Location: Missouri on May 4, 2012 at 01:20 PM
    I saw her convoy on hwy 44 and OMG, she had between 6 to 8 seperate vehicles that comprised of tractor trailer horse trailers, multi dual wheel crew cabs and the motorhome was awesome. I will say this, the 20 plus years she had at Dixon, IL expense must have been a persons dream come true. Now, what are they going to do with a 59 yr old women when the courts letting hardened crimals loose? Only thing I can say is, we will miss seeing some of the greatest horses at the horse shows.
  • by Kermitt Location: NC on May 2, 2012 at 04:50 PM
    Do you think Rita will want some bling to go with that orange jumpsuit she'll be wearing?
  • by matt c Location: chicago on May 2, 2012 at 07:45 AM
    It's amazing that people who have stolen/embezelled less get their mugshots taken & posted & Crundwell has not. Dixon law enforcement needs to take her mugshot & post it on the internet. Bernie Madoff had his mugshot taken for god sake. Why hasnt the Dixon police chief done this yet. This crook needs be accountable & pay just like crooks that have commited smaller crimes!
    • reply
      by Sarah on May 3, 2012 at 07:08 AM in reply to matt c
      She was arrested by Dixon PD. Geez...do you any of you people READ AND THINK before you post idiotic comments?
  • by joe Location: ind on May 2, 2012 at 05:16 AM
    they better watch who they put in charge. most likely just another crook... know how they are.
  • by sue Location: waxahachie Texas on May 2, 2012 at 12:07 AM
    Any horse person will say she lived our dream less the part of stealing to get there. Id she wanted envy she got it. But I wont envy her stay in prison for life and it is the least we can give her. Sue Miller
  • by sam on May 1, 2012 at 07:06 PM
    I'm not at all surprised that the investigation indicates that she's been transferring funds since before 2006. I wonder who else will be named as accomplices?
  • by Ron Location: M.Park on May 1, 2012 at 07:04 PM
    I still can't get over that they voted if she should be fired from her job. So by voting, means they could've let her keep her job, unbelievable.
  • by Jean Location: Dixon on May 1, 2012 at 06:59 PM
    That's what we are all wondering! One thing that bothers me most is we have one of the only above ground pools left and have been told too many times it would cost millions to fix and reopen. I wonder if they might consider doing that for our kids now since they have all been getting the short end of the straw bale for the past 20 years!
    • reply
      by Sarah on May 3, 2012 at 07:07 AM in reply to Jean
      How many times do people have to say it before it sticks with everyone. THE POOL IS PARK DISTRICT
      • reply
        by Bj on May 7, 2012 at 02:49 PM in reply to Sarah
        Where do you think the Park district get there money? The last time I looked was from the city funds.
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