From WILL - News Local/State -

Dixon’s Lesson: ‘Trust, But Verify,’ BGA Tells Municipalities

Rita Crundwell

In this May 7, 2012 file photo, Rita Crundwell, former comptroller for Dixon, Ill., leaves federal court in Rockford, Ill. (Robert Ray/AP)

It's been two years since FBI agents arrested Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell.She is in prison for stealing $53 million over the course of two decades.

Since the incident, the Better Government Association has been working to educate other municipalities about how to prevent such fraud. BGA investigator Pat McCraney said the guiding principle should be "trust, but verify."

Much of the money taken from Dixon was reimbursed after a lawsuit settlement and the sale of her personal belongings and properties. McCraney said the hope is that the windfall doesn't cause city leaders to go back to their old ways, but he said it appears the scandal rocked the city enough to make permanent changes.

McCraney said the BGA supports stronger self-policing by municipalities in which multiple people monitor finances. He said that includes city employees, coupled with elected leaders, to handle verification.

"I don't know that there's $54 million walking out of a town, but you know there's other theft going on around this state," said Pat McCraney an investigator with the Better Government Association

McCraney said it is good practice to rotate auditors every couple of years to ensure there are fresh eyes to catch missing money.

Categories: Criminal Justice