Sale of Rita Crundwell estate big boost for federal prosecutors

By Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

The sale of former City of Dixon staffer Rita Crundwell’s estate resulted in the largest amount of forfeited assets collected by the U.S. attorney’s office for northern Illinois in fiscal 2013, the office announced Friday, Jan. 10.

The office collected a total of $14 million in forfeited assets last year with more than $9 million coming from the liquidation of Crundwell’s assets.

Her estate included a motorhome, three houses, a farm, jewelry and more than 400 horses. The sale grossed more than $12 million.

Dixon’s share—$9.2 million—was presented to the city last month via the United States Treasury. Approximately $2.9 million was paid to other court-ordered entities.

In all, the U.S. attorney’s office collected $78.1 million in fiscal 2013. In addition to forfeited assets, the office collected $31.8 million in criminal debts and more than $31 million in civil actions. The office operated on a budget of $33.8 million.

Rita Crundwell, 61, is serving a 19-year, seven-month prison sentence for embezzling approximately $53 million from the City of Dixon while she was comptroller and treasure from 1983 to 2012. Beginning in 1990, the Dixon High graduate stole various amounts, including $5.8 million in 2008 alone.

She used the cash to live a lavish lifestyle and build what became a successful quarter horse breeding business that spawned more than 50 championship horses.

The scam was uncovered in 2011 when a colleague discovered a fraudulent bank account created by Crundwell and alerted Dixon Mayor Jim Burke (D), who contacted the FBI.

Crundwell accepted a plea bargain and was sentenced last February in the federal courthouse in Rockford.

Posted Jan. 10, 2014

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