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.

http://mystateline.com/fulltext-news?nxd_id=364862

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.

http://qctimes.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/crundwell-pleads-not-guilty-to-theft-charges/article_7f8e3d88-2398-11e2-8d7e-001a4bcf887a.html

Take A Tour Of The Florida Vacation Home Of Dixon’s Indicted Ex-Comptroller

(CBS) — Former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell allegedly stole $53 million from the Northern Illinois city for almost 22 years, and now CBS 2 has an exclusive look inside the Florida vacation home that authorities say was financed and built using taxpayer dollars.

The 3,300-square-foot, 2-bedroom, 3-bathroom home is located in Englewood, Fla., about 80 miles south of Tampa, just outside Sarasota on the West Coast.

According to Charlotte County, Fla. property documents, Crundwell bought the land back in 2009 for $115,000. Construction on the existing structure started immediately expanding the home from the original 1,064 square foot home to its now 3,316 square feet. According to Charlotte County property documents, the house was assessed last year for $267,000.00.

CBS 2’s Marissa Bailey got an exclusive, first-hand look at the Florida vacation home. Authorities say almost all of the furniture in the home was custom-made from three different furniture dealers in Oklahoma City, OK.

Jason Wojdylo, chief inspector for the U.S. Marshal’s Service, says his office has obtained receipts showing that in late November 2010 Crundwell ordered more than $42,000 in custom furniture from a single dealer then had it shipped to the Florida location.

“No expense was spared in furnishing this property,” Wojdylo said.

Marshals are still tallying the estimated total amount that Crundwell’s furniture costs but they’re not expected to publicize the final appraised value.
Marshals are still tallying the estimated total amount that Crundwell’s furniture costs but they’re not expected to publicize the final appraised value.
Federal authorities now have an extensive inventory of Crundwell’s personal property. According to court documents, a federal judge ordered her five properties to be sold or auctioned at a later date.

They include: a single family residence located at 1679 U.S. Rt. 52 in Dixon (Crundwell’s personal residence); the horse ranch property located at 1556 Red Brick Road in Dixon; a single-family residence located at 1403 Dutch Road in Dixon, where some of Crundwell’s extended family currently lives; approximately 80 acres of vacant land located in Lee County, and the vacation property.

Her Florida home may not sell for much. That’s because it’s in the middle of a modest neighborhood.

“Look at the structures in this community,” Wojdylo says. “Most of them are cinder-block, sort of like building a castle in the middle of a relatively depressed area.”

So far, marshals have auctioned off more than 400 quarter horses, along with a 2008 custom motor home, 10 vehicles or trailers and numerous pieces of horse equipment. Marshals expect another auction to take place in the next 30 to 45 days.

Meanwhile, Crundwell is due back in federal court on Nov. 14 in Rockford. The former Dixon comptroller is also charged by the state with 60 counts of theft. For those charges, Crundwell is scheduled for arraignment in Lee County on Wednesday.

Rita Crundwell was the comptroller for the city of Dixon 1983 to 2012. Federal authorities allege that she stole $53 million from the city during her tenure. She was arrested at Dixon City Hall in April after Dixon Mayor James Burke found suspicious activity on city bank accounts.

Federal authorities have charged Crundwell with one count of wire fraud. She pleaded not guilty in federal court back in April when she was released on $4,500 bond.
More can be seen at
http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/10/25/take-a-tour-of-the-florida-vacation-home-of-dixons-indicted-ex-comptroller/

Former Dixon comptroller appears in county court

DIXON, Ill. (AP) — Former Dixon comptroller Rita Crundwell has made her first court appearance in the northern Illinois city to face charges she siphoned millions of dollars in public funds into a secret bank account.
The 60-count theft case in Lee County Court is separate from the federal case in Rockford in which Crundwell is charged with a single count of wire fraud.
She is suspected of stealing more than $53 million over two decades and using the money to sustain a lavish lifestyle and a nationally renowned horse-breeding operation. She was arrested in April and has pleaded not guilty in the federal case.
On Monday, Crundwell told a Lee County judge she would also need a public defender in the state case.
The (Dixon) Telegraph reports (http://bit.ly/POOXI1 ) her arraignment is Oct. 31.

Read more: http://www.ctpost.com/news/crime/article/Former-Dixon-comptroller-appears-in-county-court-3974988.php#ixzz2AHCKw6NY

http://www.ctpost.com/news/crime/article/Former-Dixon-comptroller-appears-in-county-court-3974988.php

Rita Crundwellto appear in local county court

DIXON (WREX) –
The former Dixon comptroller accused of stealing over $53 million from the city over the course of two decades, made her first court appearance in Dixon on Tuesday.

Rita Crundwell faces 60 counts of theft in Lee County, in addition to a separate, federal charge of wire fraud. Officials say Crundwell used the money she allegedly took to fund a national horse-breeding operation and an extravagant lifestyle for herself. She was arrested in April of this year, and pleaded not guilty to the federal charge of wire fraud in May.

Crundwell’s arraignment is scheduled for October 31. She requested a public defender during Tuesday’s court appearance.

Great article at http://www.wrex.com/story/19894421/crundwell-makes-first-appearance-in-lee-county-court

RITA CRUNDWELL APPEARS IN LEE COUNTY COURT FOR THE FIRST TIME

Former Dixon City Comptroller Rita Crundwell has made her first Lee County court appearance.

The state has filed 60 counts of theft against her. Crundwill appeared with her federal public defender Paul Gaziano who explained to the judge that Crundwell’s assets had all been seized and disposed of in the federal case against her. When asked by Judge Ron Jacobson if she needed a public defender, Crundwell reported that she did.
Lee County Public Defender Bob Thompson was assigned to the case. It was Thompson’s first appearance with Crundwell. He requested more time for an arraignment and Judge Jacobson scheduled it for Oct. 31st.

The Indictment of Crundwell on 60 counts of theft was secured by Lee County State’s Attorney Henry Dixon in September. Crundwell also faces one federal charge for wire fraud. She is accused of stealing $53 million from the city of Dixon over more than two decades.

great content at…
http://www.rivercountry1017.com/Rita-Crundwell-Appears-in-Lee-County-Court-For-the/14594736

Crundwell Property Left to Sell

DIXON (WIFR) — The criminal case against Rita Crundwell is moving forward. The former Dixon comptroller is accused of stealing more than $50 million from the city. This morning during a criminal and civil hearing, Crundwell appeared with her attorneys in front of Judge Mahoney, where he asked for an update on the sale of Crundwell’s property.

The U.S. Department of Justice has sold all but one of Crundwell’s more than 400 horses. The bidder who bought that horse during an online auction last month, didn’t pay up. Now, the horse is up for sale online through tomorrow night. You can bid on the horse at www.professionalauction.com

U.S. Marshals say they still need to sell several things, including nearly a dozen vehicles, which will be sold at an auction in Chicago on October 20th. For more information on that auction visit www.mensikautoauctions.com.

Some boats and custom-made furniture also need to be sold, as well as five pieces of land; Crundwell’s ranch and home in Dixon, her home in Englewood, Florida, and two pieces of land, one for 80 acres and one for 40 acres in Lee County. Right now, inspectors are working with the EPA to remove stock-piled horse manure from those properties. Under the law it must be removed within 180 days, which will be November 1st.

Inspectors say they anticipate holding a community auction in November to sell some of Crundwell’s belongings. And there will likely be an online auction to sell some other things. Marshals will be taking pictures and logging property over the next few weeks. We’re told everything should be sold by Christmas.

Also today, both parties agreed to send the criminal case to Judge Philip Reinhard. He’s the judge who will see this case through, whether there is a trial or plea deal. Crundwell will appear in front of Judge Reinhard on November 14th. Also on the 14th, there will be another hearing on the civil case.

http://www.wifr.com/news/headlines/Crundwell-Property-Left-to-Sell-173575871.html?ref=871

Crundwell back in court

It’s back to court Wednesday for Rita Crundwell. Crundwell will be in Federal Court for a status hearing.

The former Dixon comptroller is accused of embezzling more than $53 million from the city of Dixon.

This kind of hearing is an informal discussion where the defendant, prosecution and judge discuss the case and the defendant has an opportunity to change their plea if necessary. Crundwell faces one federal count of wire fraud.

Almost three weeks ago, federal marshals auctioned off Crundwell’s collection of more than 300 horses for nearly $5 million.

The status hearing is set for 11 a.m.

Crundwell also faces 60 counts of state charges for felony theft.

By Clay LePard

clepard@cbs4qc.com

Rita Crundwell Halter Horse Sale

A great article from
http://aqha.com/Showing/News-Articles/09242012-Rita-Crundwell-Halter-Horse-Sale.aspx

A smaller but still enthusiastic crowdgathered September 24 for the final day of the sale of horses that formerly belonged toRita Crundwell of Dixon, Illinois.

Execute, a three-time AQHA world champion, brought the highest bid, with Tom Scheckel of Bellevue, Iowa, purchasing the 2004 sorrel stallion by Mr Touchdown Kid-Forever Coolest by Coolest for $245,000.

Tom said he likely will stand Execute at Iowa State University, which currently stands Kids Classic Style, Tom’s other stallion.

Many of the bidders in the audience had driven over for the day from the Breeders Halter Futurity and National Championship Show, where they had spent the weekend, but a large number of bidders watched and purchased horses online at the sale organized by Professional Auction Services Inc.

The court-ordered sale began at 10 a.m. with items such as portable coolers and muck buckets going first, followed by fencing and other farm equipment. Trucks and trailers were sold before the first horse entered the sale ring. Bidding continued for more than 10 hours.

Notable horses sold September 24:

Execute — $245,000
Lookin For Romance — $60,000
Sacreds Executionist — $50,000
Bob Bob Barann — $40,000
Mr Touchdown Kid, $36,000
Acoolest — $31,000

 

Rita Crundwell faces 60 new state charges

A great article from
http://wqad.com/2012/09/20/crundwell-faces-60-additional-counts/
Prosecutors in Illinois hand down dozens of new theft charges for former Dixon Illinois comptroller Rita Crundwell. Today the state indicted Crundwell on 60 theft charges that allegedly took place from January 1st, 2010 through her arrest on April 17th, 2012. These charges are separate from the federal charges that allege Crundwell stole $53 million dollars from the City of Dixon from 1990 through 2010.
The numbers are staggering.
This indictment alleges Rita Crundwell stole more than $11.2 million dollars in less than 2 and half years.
60 charges in all, they read almost like an accountant’s ledger.
$255,000 on January 19th.
$198,000 on January 25th.
$178,000 on January 29th.
On and on the list goes, the last charge filed the day before she was arrested on April 17th of this year. The indictment is separate from federal charges, and the case will be tried completely separately as well.
Dixon Mayor Jim Burke says he looks at this as a backup plan, just in case the federal trial falls flat.
“The way we were pushing this was to get some insurance that if it was a slap on the wrist that there would be more from the state,” says Burke.
The investigators have been working since early July to reach this point, sifting through more than 2,000 pieces of evidence. Between the federal investigation, and the state’s investigation, Lee County State’s Attorney Henry Dixon is confident Rita Crundwell acted alone.
“If you have more than one person involved you’re in deep trouble. And in my view if there had been even one other person involved with Ms. Crundwell in this enterprise, it would have been exposed sometime ago,” says Dixon.
Each of the 60 theft charges facing Crundwell carries a 6 year minimum sentence. If she’s found guilty on every charge she’d face at least 360 years behind bars, plus any punishment she may receive in her federal case.
“You can all multiply 6 times 60 pretty easily. There’s such a thing as a pound of flesh and a pound of flesh,” says Dixon.
Dixon adds they’re not seeking any restitution from Crundwell or her estate because as he put it, ‘The feds took everything. All she has left is her clothes and a few trophies.’
EARLIER STORY:
Former Dixon, Illinois comptroller Rita Crundwell faces 60 counts of felony theft after a grand jury indictment was delivered Thursday, September 20, 2012.
A Lee County grand jury handed down the indictment announced by police and prosecutors that same day at a news conference at Dixon City Hall.
The new indictment concerns alleged thefts by Crundwell from January 1, 2010 to April 17, 2012. In each count, Crundwell is accused of taking more than $100,000 worth of government property.
Crundwell previously pleaded not guilty in federal court to a single count of wire fraud. Prosecutors said Crundwell stole $53 million over more than 20 years to fund a lavish lifestyle centered around breeding championship horses.
More about the federal indictment – click here.
Crundwell is not in custody for the new indictment and charges. She was previously released on bond after being taken into federal custody.
If convicted, Crundwell faces a minimum of six years in prison for each charge in the September 20 indictment.