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Feds: Ex-comptroller to plead guilty in $53M scam

Associated Press Modified: November 13, 2012 at 3:46 pm •  Published: November 13, 2012

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — A former comptroller accused of stealing $53 million from her small northern Illinois city to fund a lavish lifestyle, including one of the nation's foremost horse-breeding operations, is expected to plead guilty on Wednesday, federal prosecutors said.

Rita Crundwell is expected to plead guilty to federal charges accusing her of stealing the public money while overseeing the public finances of the city of Dixon, U.S. attorney's spokesman Randall Samborn said. Prosecutors said she stole the money over several years and siphoned it into a secret bank account.

Crundwell had previously pleaded not guilty to one federal count of wire fraud, which carried a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

Crunwell's federal public defenders, Paul Gaziano and Kristin Carpenter, did not immediately return messages seeking messages Tuesday afternoon. Crundwell, who is free on a recognizance bond, is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Judge Philip G. Reinhard in Rockford federal court on Wednesday.

Prosecutors allege that since 1990, the 58-year-old Crundwell stole more than $53 million from Dixon, where she oversaw public finances as the city comptroller since the 1980s. The small city is about 100 miles west of Chicago.

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