DIXON, Ill. (AP) — Prosecutors on Tuesday dropped all remaining charges against a former city comptroller who recently began serving a lengthy federal prison sentence for stealing nearly $54 million from her northern Illinois community.
Lee County State's Attorney Anna Sacco-Miller dropped the 60 state counts of felony theft that remained against former Dixon comptroller Rita Crundwell. The prosecutor explained that the state case would have cost taxpayers more money and would not have resulted in additional prison time because any sentence would have to be concurrent with the federal punishment.
Crundwell, who was Dixon's longtime bookkeeper, admitted in federal court in November that she stashed public money in a secret bank account for about two decades and used it to fund her lavish lifestyle and her renowned horse-breeding operation. The money went toward everything from expensive horse trailers and luxury motor homes to jewelry and birthday bashes in Venice Beach, Fla. It ranks as one of the worst abuses of public trust in the state's corruption-rich history.
Because Crundwell had sole control of the city's bookkeeping, the theft went unnoticed for years, even as the city's financial shape suffered, with streets and equipment falling into disrepair and city employees going without raises. There wasn't even enough money to mow the grass at the cemetery.