Rockford's Independent Newspaper

Dixon employees want Rita Crundwell to serve her entire prison term

The ex-comptroller has served seven years of a 19-year, seven-month sentence for stealing nearly $54 million.

By Jim Hagerty

DIXON – City of Dixon employees, all 103 of them, do not want ex-Comptroller Rita Crundwell released from prison, leaders expressed in a letter to a federal warden.

Addressed to Frederick Entzel and signed by City Manager Danny Langloss, the letter recalls that Crundwell stole more than $53 million and lived a lavish lifestyle while Dixon’s roads and infrastructure crumbled into their own footprints.

“Rita destroyed public trust and confidence and the reputations and careers of many dedicated public servants,” the leader reads. “Rita’s decades-long criminal endeavor still lingers over the Dixon community and it’s ever-present in the minds of our citizens.”

Entzel is warden of the Federal Correctional Institution in Pekin, Illinois.

Crundwell recently wrote a letter to U.S. District Judge Philip Reinhard, asking for an early release because she is afraid of contracting COVID-19. The 67-year-old says she suffers from hypertension, low kidney function, high cholesterol, underwent a hip replacement, and would fare better living on her brother’s farm.

Dixon officials don’t share Crundwell’s sentiments. They say seven years of a 19-year, seven-month sentence isn’t enough and that she is right where she belongs.

“Early release of Rita Crundwell would destroy trust and confidence in our great judicial system, send a dangerous message to any public official considering theft, and reignite the rage and anger that our Dixon community has worked so hard to overcome,” the writing continues. “She must pay her debt to society through the service of her full sentence.”

The City of Dixon has received about $10 million in restitution from the sale of Crundwell’s assets–homes, RVs, vehicles and more than 400 quarter horses from the business she funded with proceeds of her 22-year embezzlement scheme.

Crundwell still owes Dixon about $43 million, a balance she pays $65 and $70 a month toward by working prison jobs. She told Reinhard if she’s released, she would pursue book and movie deals and give some of the proceeds to the city.

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