A treasurer from small-town Illinois was charged with stealing $30 million in six years—more than three times the annual budget.Rita Crundwell, comptroller of Dixon, Illinois, allegedly siphoned the funds to secret bank accounts, Andy Grimm and Melissa Jenco at the Chicago Tribune reported.
Crundwell used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle that included a champion horse breeding ranch, a luxury motor home and $340,000 in jewelry, according to FBI charges. That’s well above what her $80,000 annual salary would afford, according to the official criminal complaint against her.
The city’s mayor said they’ve been investigating her since October, and three FBI agents hauled her away yesterday.
Crundwell’s town had an annual budget of $8 million to $9 million a year and had fallen on hard times, even closing the public pool.She blamed the state for the strained budget, saying they owed the town in unpaid tax revenues.
Most people in town assumed Crundwell was loaded from her successful horse-breeding business. But when she took four months off last year, a municipal employee asked the bank for all its statements and found suspicious activity.
Crundwell had worked for the town of Dixon since she was a teenager. She is a champion horse breeder with two farms. She’s been charged with one count of wire fraud and her detention hearing is this afternoon.
According to the Equine Chronicle Online, Crundwell recently won four world titles for her horses.
The author of the piece said, “she was turned out in stunning fashion as always. It is wonderful to see such a classy and fabulous lady have great success with her horses.”
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