Illinois City to Get Restitution in Crundwell Case

The city of Dixon, Ill., will receive more than $9 million in restitution in the embezzlement case involving a former high-profile Quarter Horse breeder employed by the city for more than 20 years.

In April 2012, a federal grand jury indicted Rita Crundwell for allegedly misappropriating $53 million from Dixon, where she had served as comptroller since the 1980s. Federal law enforcement agents later arrested Crundwell and charged her with one count of wire fraud.

A federal court judge later placed more than 400 of Crundwell's horses in the custody of the U. S. Marshals Service. The horses, along with semen, horse trailers, other equipment, a luxury motor home, real estate, and furnishings, were later sold at auction.

Crundwell initially pleaded not guilty to the wire fraud charge. However in November of 2012 she appeared in U.S. District Court in Rockford, Ill., and changed her plea to guilty under a plea agreement. Under the agreement, Crundwell admitted to stealing more than $53 million from Dixon, Ill., and using it to finance her Quarter Horse breeding business, horse show appearances, and other equestrian activities. Under the deal, she also admitted that she engaged in illegal money laundering in connection with the embezzlement, and agreed that she owes restitution to Dixon totaling $53,740,394, minus any credit for funds repaid prior to sentencing. Crundwell was later sentenced to serve 19 years and 7 months in federal prison.

Lynzey Donahue, spokeswoman for the U.S. Marshall's Service, said that on Dec. 13, the U.S. Marshals Service transferred $9.2 million to the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois. The funds will be applied to the restitution ordered by the court to be paid to Dixon.

The funds represent net proceeds recovered from the federal seizure and forfeiture of Crundwell’s assets, Donahue said. Total proceeds recovered were more than $12 million, and the marshals incurred expenses of approximately $1.8 million to seize, manage, and sell the more than 500 assets that spanned 17 federal judicial districts in 13 different states, she said.

Dixon Mayor James Burke said the city is happy to receive the latest restitution payment.

“Of course, the federal government will take its expenses, but we're happy to get the $9.2 million,” Burke said.

Burke said the most recent payment is added to the more than $40 million in restitution the city has already received relative to the case.

Meanwhile, Crundell continues to serve her sentence. She must serve at least 85% of that sentence, said U.S. Attorney's Office in Illinois spokesman Randall Samborn, and there is no parole in the federal prison system.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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