Crime

Illinois City Official Admits to Embezzling More Than $50 Million

Small town bookkeeper's assets include gems, horse ranch

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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.