ROCKFORD, Ill. (February 14, 2013)--A judge sentenced a small Illinois city's former bookkeeper to nearly 20 years in prison Thursday for embezzling more than $53 million over the course of more than two decades.
U.S. District Judge Philip Reinhard in Rockford sentenced Rita Crundwell, 60, after witnesses testified about the hardship her massive theft caused the city of Dixon, Ill.
The former Dixon comptroller pleaded guilty to wire fraud in November and admitted to embezzling city funds from 1991 until her 2012 arrest.
She still faces 60 separate but related state felony theft charges to which she's pleaded not guilty.
Crundwell used the stolen money to establish a nationally renowned horse breeding operation and to live lavishly.
Prosecutors say the theft ranks among the worst abuses of public trust in the corruption-rich history of Illinois.