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Small Town Comptroller Guilty of Massive Embezzlement Scheme

Talking about abuse of power this story takes the cake and a few horses with it:

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.

“If nothing else, what we have in this case is an object lesson in how not to manage public funds,” Shapiro said. “This is a crime that should never have been allowed to occur.”

Crundwell, 59, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a single charge of wire fraud in federal court in Rockford. She was allowed to remain free until her Feb. 14 sentencing hearing and still faces 60 separate but related state felony charges for theft in Lee County. She has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

Gotta watch those books people. Oh and when your small town comptroller wins 52 awards with the American Quarter Horse Association for her horse breeding operation you may want to raise some concerns.

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