Financial firm responds to city’s lawsuit

DIXON – CliftonLarsonAllen advised city officials in writing more than once that there was a problem with its lack of segregation of duties at City Hall, the company says.

The city has amended its lawsuit against CliftonLarsonAllen, one of the largest financial consultants in the United States, saying the company should have detected the theft of nearly $54 million by former comptroller Rita Crundwell.

“We believe we met our obligation to provide the city’s officials with information about its finances,” the company said in a statement to Sauk Valley Media.

Court documents revealed Crundwell used 179 phony invoices to steal city funds. The invoices lacked key information, such as the agency’s emblem or logo and a contact name and number of an employee who could be reached for questions.

While those and other examples should have raised suspicion, no evaluation or investigation was made of the phony documents by CliftonLarsonAllen for the past 21 years, the city government says in its suit.

The company also violated a federal statute by conducting an audit and not being an independent firm, the suit says. In other words, it was performing an audit on its own financial statements, since it compiled payroll and other city finances.

CliftonLarsonAllen denies it conducted audits for the city since April 2006.

Instead, their company spokeswoman says the firm was performing a compilation.

There are three level of financial reporting. A compilation is the lowest and involves strictly formatting financial data. The highest level of financial reporting is an audit, which involves study of the financial data presented.

“We provided the city audit services through April 30, 2005, and compilation services since April 30, 2006,” Jennifer Dirks said in a statement sent to SVM over the weekend.

“The contracts executed with the city and the reports issued on the financial statements of the city clearly described the services we were contracted to perform and did perform. The type of audits our firm performed through 2005 and the compilation services provided since 2006 did not require the sort of detailed testing needed to uncover the fraud or a forensic investigation to determine if the city’s comptroller Rita Crundwell was fabricating invoices.”

Documents dating back to 2006 from CliftonLarsonAllen on the city’s website refer to its reports as “compilation reports.”

Mayor Jim Burke declined to answer questions in regard to the city’s relationship with CliftonLarsonAllen, stating the city’s attorney Devon Bruce of Power, Rogers and Smith advised him not to make statements while litigation is pending.

According to the amended lawsuit, the firm determined it was not “independent” in 2005, according to nationally recognized accounting standards, which prevented it from performing the audit by federal statute.

The firm reached out to Janis Card Co., which had only two certified public accountants, little or no experience in performing municipal audits, and lacked the resources to perform the city’s audits.

A partner in the firm told Janis Card Co. that in return for signing the audit for the city, CliftonLarsonAllen would conduct and prepare the audit.

Further, CliftonLarsonAllen told the city it was doing only a compilation, meaning it provided financial statements for the audit, yet referred to their work as an “audit” in several emails to city supervisors that are listed in court documents.

In fiscal years 2010 through 2012, the firm billed the city $33,500, $34,750, and $37,000, respectively, for its work.

Janis Card Co. billed the city a total of $40,000 between 2006 and 2011. It also did not do the fieldwork or test fixed assets for the audit, according to the suit

The company said it will respond to these claims in proceedings.

“We are confident in the integrity and professionalism of the partners and employees of our firm,” the statement said.

“As accountants and financial services professionals dedicated to the highest level of client service, we take the fraud perpetrated by Rita Crundwell very seriously. We have been working with the City as it seeks to discover all of the facts that will describe what has happened in this case.

“CliftonLarsonAllen is one of the most respected firms in the country and we are committed to continuously enhancing our operations, performance, and practices to fulfill our responsibility to our clients.”

How did Crundwell do it?

By: CBS 4 Newsroom

An amended lawsuit filed last month gives more details about how former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell stole more than $53 million of city funds.

According to court documents, Crundwell wrote more than 179 fake invoices from the Illinois Department of Transportation over the past ten years. Totaling over $44 million.

The invoices did not include an official IDOT emblem nor any contact information.

Crundwell then independently wrote and signed all the checks, despite normal process calling for three signatures.

Despite all the red flags and phony documents annual audits failed to catch what Crundwell was doing.

Which has led Dixon officials to file a lawsuit against two accounting firms in excess of $53 million.

The next hearing in that case is scheduled in march

Dixon stuck with Crundwell legacy for now

I would like to nominate Rita Crundwell as Dixon’s person of the year. Who else did more to put our town on the map in 2012? Unfortunately, no one. I wish it weren’t true, but we must face the truth. She has made Dixon famous.

Of course, this nomination is not for her good works. We all know the story by now. As city comptroller, she ripped off the city of Dixon to a tune of $53 million. We’ll see very little, if any, of that money….


Rita Crundwell May Ask To Have State Charges Dropped

Dixon – The lawyer for former Comptroller Rita Crundwell may ask the state to drop its case against her even though she admitted to stealing $53 million from the city.

Crundwell faces 60 counts of theft in Lee County. She’s supposed to appear in court for those charges tomorrow. But, her lawyer asked for more time so the judge could consider dropping them.

He didn’t elaborate as to why.

Crundwell did plead guilty though to a federal charge against her. She’ll be sentenced for that in February.

Rita Crundwell Items to Be Sold in Online Auction

DIXON (WIFR) — Know someone with the initials R.C.? Then there may be a few items worth checking out. The U.S. Marshals service is hosting another online auction this weekend of Rita Crundwell’s stuff.

Things like a monogrammed boulder and similar-looking sign. A leather saddle will also be auctioned off. The online auction begins Sunday and runs through Wednesday. So far, the U.S. Marshals service has recovered nearly $8 million from selling Crundwell’s property, but that is nowhere close to the $53 million stolen by the former Dixon comptroller.

Once the rest of Crundwell’s personal items are sold, U.S. Marshals will sell her homes and farmland. They’re currently accepting counter-offers on three pieces of property, through December 21st.

Another online auction kicks off this weekend to sell more of Rita Crundwell’s personal items. This monogramed boulder and sign are included.. As well as this rare leather saddle. The auction will run Sunday through Wednesday. To check out the auction, visit

Rita Crundwell auction ends

CHICAGO (CBS) — The online auction of items from homes that once belonged to former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell has ended.

The auction of furnishings in the Englewood, Florida home that belonged to Crundwell, generated nearly $100,000.

A table and 8 chairs brought in the largest amount, $11,000.

Furnishings at the home where Crundwell spent most of her time, in Dixon, sold for 181 thousand dollars.

A grand piano brought in the largest single amount, $4,500.

The sale of the furnishings and possessions sold earlier, including more than 400 horses and horse semen for a breeding program, brought in a total $7.4 million.

From cbsnews

A long way from the $53 million that Crundwell admits she stole, while serving as Dixon’s Comptroller.

Rita Crundwell’s cars, boats go to online auction

Another collection of items belonging to Rita Crundwell is being sold in an online auction, including her 1967 Corvette Roadster convertible.

The highest bid for the red two-seater was $26,510 as of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, with 16 days remaining in the bidding.

Six vehicles are being sold in all, including a 2005 Ford Thunderbird, a 2012 Chevrolet Silverado, a 1998 Cobalt 25LS boat with trailer and a John Deere riding mower.

Also on the auction block is a 2009 50-foot U.S. Cargo Eliminator vehicle trailer with living quarters.

Another boat, a 20-foot 2000 Playbuoy Pontoon pleasure boat is to be added to the online collection in coming days. All bidding closes Dec. 6.

The auction websites are: and

Rita Crundwell pleaded guilty last week to a federal charge of wire fraud, admitting she stole more than $53 million from the city of Dixon, Ill., while serving as the city’s comptroller. She also faces 60 felony counts of theft in Lee County. That case is pending.

Rita crundwell pleads guilty

November 14, 2012 (ROCKFORD) — Her schemes to defraud the City of Dixon went on for more than 20-years. Rita Crundwell pleads guilty to federal charges Wednesday morning. Giving up her rights to a fair trial.

Rita Crundwell, 59 walked out of federal courts. She was surrounded by T.V. news cameras and reporters, but silent as questions are shouted at her.

All for a crime, prosectuors say, should have never been allowed to happen in the first place.

“For over a period of more than 21-years, which is certaintly at least as far as I know is the largest theft of public funds in Illinois history,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Gary Shapiro.

The comptroller of Dixon admits she took more than 50-million dollars from taxpayers, and using it to support her lavish lifestyle and horse breeding operation.

“Her actions were sophisticated. It was a good scheme, but at the same time, they weren’t so sophisticated that now this is my opinion, a little bit better oversight to some of this could have been brought to our attention sooner,” said Acting Special F.B.I agent William Monroe.

U.S Marshals worked for several months to seize and to liquidate all of her assets, which includes including 400 horses.

They recovered around $7.4 million dollars through on site and online auctioning of her assets.

“I like to report to date that we have sold all those horses in a large quanity of tact and equipment; as well as 11 vehicles, which includes a customized luxurious motor home,” said U.S. Marshal Darryl McPherson.

But more assets such as real estate property and jewerly still needs to be auctioned off.

Shapiro hopes this crime will serve as an example for public officials that when it comes to public money there needs to be trust and verification.

“But it should serve as a lesson to public officials in other cities small and large and I say this recognizing its significance for the town of Dixon,” said Shapiro.

Crundwell personal items may be sold online

DIXON – Hundreds of personal items that belong to ousted Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell may soon be up for auction – online.

An online auction rather than a large public auction of items seized from Crundwell’s Dixon and Florida homes makes more fiscal sense, said Jason Wojdylo, chief inspector of the marshals asset forfeiture division….


Crundwell pleads not guilty to theft charges

DIXON, Ill. — The mayor showed up early for Rita Crundwell’s arraignment, thinking the Lee County courtroom would be packed.

Instead, only seven people attended the former comptroller’s Wednesday hearing, including Mayor Jim Burke. The eight other spectators were members of the media.

Though she entered a plea of not guilty, the answer could not be heard from the gallery.

Crundwell, 59, is accused of stealing $53 million from the city of Dixon over a 20-year period. Prosecutors say she used the money to live lavishly and to support a horse-breeding operation, which was run primarily from an upscale ranch outside of town.

Her 401 horses, stabled in more than a dozen states, have been sold at auction by the U.S. Marshals Service.

Crundwell entered the fourth-floor courtroom Wednesday with her head bent down. The hearing lasted about five minutes, and she waived the reading of the 60 charges that have been filed against her in Lee County.

Each count is a Class X felony, which carry possible sentences of six to 30 years each. The amounts specified in each count range from $100,000 to $350,000, for a total of more than $11 million, which officials said disappeared over a period of two years and four months.

The state charges are in addition to a federal charge of wire fraud, which is pending. She has pleaded not guilty to the federal charge and is free on bond.

A pretrial conference is scheduled for Dec. 19.

“I got here early, because I thought it’d be standing room only,” Burke said after the arraignment.

He said it is possible many Dixon taxpayers declined to attend because they plan to rely instead on media accounts of the hearing. He added, “People in Dixon who really care … are looking forward, not back.”

Asked how the city is recovering from the financial losses, Burke said, “Now that we’ve got the outflow stopped, we’re doing much better.”

Crundwell’s ranch on Red Brick Road, just a few miles outside of town, appeared barren Wednesday, compared to the flutter of activity of recent months as the U.S. Marshals Service prepared her horse herd for auction.

At her home about a mile from the ranch, a next-door neighbor’s yard contains a campaign sign for County Attorney Henry S. Dixon — the man prosecuting her.

After her arraignment, Crundwell was led out a rear door of the courtroom.