Former Dixon Comptroller Gets Nearly 20-Year Prison Sentence
By Susan Stephens
Disgraced former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell was sentenced today to serve 235 months -- 19 years and 7 months -- in prison on one federal count of wire fraud resulting from her embezzlement of nearly $54 million in public funds from the City of Dixon.
She also was ordered to pay $53.7 million in restitution from her assets and any future inheritance. Sale of her assets by federal marshals has netted about $10 million to date, including homes, horses, a luxury motor home, jewelry and other personal property.
U.S. Marshalls are almost finished selling off all of her assets: in the end, the city of Dixon will recover about 20-percent of what she stole.
Her bond was revoked and she was led away in handcuffs at the end of the hearing before Judge Philip Reinhard in the federal courthouse in Rockford.
She will serve her time in the federal prison nearest Beloit, Wis., where she operated part of her nationally known horse-breeding operation.
Dixon Mayor Jim Burke told the court that his city was not looking for revenge; they wanted justice. He also testified that Dixon was not a corrupt city.
Burke said it was a relief to see her receive close to the maximum sentence.
"But on the other hand it was a very emotional thing to stand there and look at her, knowing her all these years and think what a tragedy this whole thing is not only for the city but her for also," he said.
Judge Reinhard said he doesn't understand how no one discovered Crundwell's embezzlement earlier, and that it is up to the city to figure out. He told Crundwell her lifestyle was extravagant, and she harmed the city of Dixon and its citizens.
Crundwell sobbed to the judge that she is sorry to the city of Dixon, and to her family and friends.
Now 60, Crundwell will be nearly 80 if she serves the full sentence. Judge Reinhard said she could be out by age 77 with credit for good behavior.