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Lee County grand jury indicts former Dixon comptroller

Published: Friday, Sept. 21, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT
(Alex T. Paschal/
Dixon Mayor Jim Burke (left) and Lee County State’s Attorney Henry Dixon are seen Thursday at a news conference announcing – former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell was indicted on 60 counts of theft.

DIXON – Former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell’s legal situation just got worse.

A Lee County grand jury delivered a 60-count indictment Thursday against the 59-year-old horse breeder and exhibitor.

Each of those state charges accuses her of theft of more than $100,000 in government property, which is a Class X felony punishable by 6 to 30 years in prison.

A prosecutor presents evidence in secret to a grand jury, which determines whether it is sufficient for an indictment. The six-member jury does not determine guilt or innocence.

The indictment comes 5 months after federal prosecutors charged Crundwell with a single count of wire fraud in connection with what they say was the misappropriation of more than $53 million in city funds since 1990.

Lee County State’s Attorney Henry Dixon will have a news conference at 1 p.m. today at City Hall to discusss the state charges.

Federal prosecutors say Crundwell funneled money through the city’s capital development fund and into a secret account she opened in the city’s name two decades ago.

Since the federal charges were filed, she has been free on a $4,500 recognizance bond.

After the grand jury handed down its indictment, Dixon presented the indictment to Lee County Associate Judge Charles Beckman and said he would not ask for a warrant for Crundwell’s arrest. Although she is free on bond in the federal case, Crundwell still is in the custody of the U.S. Department of Justice, Dixon said.

The amounts of the thefts referenced in the Lee County indictments range from $100,000 to $350,000 between Jan. 19, 2010, and April 16, the day before her arrest.

On that day, according to the indictment, Crundwell stole $125,000 in city funds.

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