Former Dixon comptroller to spend more than 19 years in prison

By WEEK Reporter

February 14, 2013 Updated Feb 14, 2013 at 9:50 PM CDT

ROCKFORD, Ill. -- Former Dixon comptroller Rita Crundwell was sentenced to 19 and a half years in prison for embezzling $53 million from the town.

Prosecutors said Crundwell began stealing from the northern Illinois town in 1990 by creating fake invoices and transferring the money into another account that she used for personal expenses. A coworker discovered the secret bank account, leading to her arrest.

She plead guilty to the crime in November of 2012. Crundwell admitted to one count of wire fraud and engagement in illegal money laundering.

Her attorneys hoped that the plea deal would give her a more lenient sentence of 13 to 16 years.

However, prosecutors and Dixon officials pushed for Crundwell to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

The government has been liquidating Crundwell's assets, including her ranch, home and vehicles.

The 59 year-old Crundwell was comptroller for over 30 years.