Rita Crundwell doesn't just handle the finances of a small Illinois city -- she's allegedly a big-time thief who raided the city of Dixon's coffers to the tune of $33.2 million, the U.S. attorney's office for the Northern District of Illinois announced.
Dixon, Ill. Chief Financial Officer Rita Crundwell, 58, allegedly defrauded the city of some 15,000 residents of $3.2 million and misappropriated more than $30 million to fund her lavish lifestyle, which included a stable of 150 horses and a $2.5 million American Express bill, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said.
Crundwell, who earns an $80,000 a year salary as chief financial officer, was charged with one count of wire fraud, according to a federal criminal complaint filed Friday that was unsealed Wednesday.
Crundwell's alleged scheme caught the eye of Dixon Mayor James Burke, who called law enforcement in the fall after he said a city employee took over for Crundwell when she took an unpaid extended vacation.
The city employee sent a bank account statement to Burke while filling in for Crundwell, and the Dixon mayor was unaware that the account even existed, according to the complaint.
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There were 40 withdrawals on the account totaling $266,000, and the withdrawals appeared suspicious to Burke because the banking activity was not related to city business.
The account's primary account-holder is listed as Dixon, but the joint account holder is RSCDA, and checks written in the account were done under the name R.S.C.D.A., C/O Rita Crundwell, the complaint said.
The FBI claims Crundwell also used $30 million of the city's money for her own personal and business expenses.
Crundwell allegedly racked up a $2.5 million American Express bill between January 2007 and March 2012, including $339,000 just on jewelry, Fitzgerald's office said.
She allegedly used city funds to pay off the charges.
Among other purchases Crundwell allegedly made using city funds are:
2009 Liberty Coach Motor Home: $2.1 million
2009 Kenworth T800 Tractor Truck: $146,000
2009 Freightliner Truck: $140,000
2009 Chevrolet Silverado Pick-Up Truck: $56,646
2009 Featherlite Horse Trailer: $258,698
Crundwell faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of wire fraud.