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Prosecutor: Embezzlement plea a warning to others

November 15, 2012 • Business


Rita Crundwell stands outside of the federal courthouse in Rockford, Ill. on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. Crundwell, the former comptroller of Dixon, pleaded guilty to allegations she embezzled more than $50 million from the small city in Illinois to fund a lavish lifestyle that included a nationally known horse-breeding operation. She pleaded guilty to a charge of wire fraud and will remain free until her Feb. 14 sentencing hearing. (AP Photo/The Telegraph, Alex T. Paschal )

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — A federal prosecutor said Wednesday that a small-town Illinois bookkeeper’s admission that she embezzled more than $50 million should serve as a warning for other public officials.

Gary Shapiro, the acting U.S. Attorney for northern Illinois, called the case of former Dixon comptroller Rita Crundwell “one of the most significant abuses of public trust ever seen in Illinois.”

Crundwell pleaded guilty Wednesday to siphoning public money into a secret account while overseeing finances in President Ronald Reagan’s boyhood home and spending it on a lavish lifestyle that included a nationally known horse-breeding operation.

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