Draining Dixon. How Rita Crundwell Embezzled More Than $50 by Chicago Tribune

By Chicago Tribune

Draining Dixon is the true-life account, as recorded by way of the award-winning employees of the Chicago Tribune, of the Dixon, Illinois, comptroller who embezzled over $50 million from municipal coffers in the course of a twenty-year occupation in neighborhood govt.

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Since Crundwell was released from custody, she has been helping inventory the horses, Pedersen told the judge, but she has not directly been taking part in their care. Reinhard did not preclude her from doing so. “She has a lot of knowledge that (might) be helpful,” the judge said. Crundwell, wearing a gold trench coat with her blond hair pulled back, declined to comment before the hearing. Afterward, she slipped out a back door. Crundwell is due back in court Monday to be arraigned on one count of wire fraud.

Crundwell, who had served as Dixon’s comptroller and treasurer since 1983, is charged with stealing the money beginning in December 1990 from a city bank account the current mayor has said he never knew existed. Over the next 21 1/2 years, she allegedly stole more than $53 million — an average of more than $200,000 a month, a staggering sum for a town the size of Dixon, best known as the boyhood home of President Ronald Reagan. For the first time, authorities alleged Crundwell concealed the thefts by telling the mayor and City Council that the state was late in its payments to Dixon.

But last year she took an additional 12 weeks of unpaid vacation. A city employee substituting for Crundwell examined bank statements and notified the mayor of activity in an account that, according to the complaint, he didn’t know existed. Bank records list the primary account holder as the City of Dixon. ” Crundwell, perhaps the top breeder of quarter horses in the world, is charged with one count of wire fraud. ” In this case that could be ... a lot. That also is getting ahead of things. For now we’ll focus instead on the people of Dixon, struggling to absorb the allegations against a public official whom many of them know well.

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