Photo from U.S. Marshal's office
The U.S. Marshal’s office is auctioning furniture formerly belonging to Rita Crundwell, the former Dixon, Ill., comptroller who pleaded guilty to stealing more than $53 million from the city.
Crundwell pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and admitted engaging in illegal money laundering as part of a plea agreement, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
The 59-year-old faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000. The government is asking for a sentence of 15 years, 8 months to 19 years, 7 months. The defense wants a range from 12 years, 7 months to 15 years, 8 months.
On Monday, the U.S. Marshal’s office announced it will hold an online auction Dec. 6-8 to sell furniture formerly belonging to Crundwell. Items can be seen at professionalauctions.com.
“After researching the options, we determined that an online auction is the best method to keep our selling costs low and maximize proceeds to the victims,” U.S. Marshal of the Northern District of Illinois Daryl McPherson said in a statement.
“We are working with Dixon Public Schools to arrange for a computer lab to accommodate those within the local community who may have some anxiety with online auctions.”
Six vehicles formerly belonging to Crundwell remain available in an online auction through Dec. 6. The vehicles -- including two boats and an RV -- can be found at auctionflex.com or http://bit.ly/RPKn9Z and http://bit.ly/QUuQZk.
Following her arrest on April 17, Crundwell agreed to a liquidation of assets acquired with proceeds from the decades-long fraud scheme. The U.S. Marshals Service has recovered about $7.4 million from the sale of about 400 quarter horses, vehicles, trailers, tack, and a luxury motor home.
Additional auctions of personal belongings and real estate in Illinois and Florida are pending.
Crundwell remains free on her own recognizance pending sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Philip Reinhard on Feb. 14 in Rockford.
She agreed to restitution to the city of Dixon totaling more than $53.7 million, minus credit for funds repaid; and agreed to a forfeiture judgment in the same amount.
Dixon, with a population of about 15,733, is about 100 miles southwest of Chicago. Crundwell served as comptroller and handled all of the city’s finances from 1983 until she was arrested.
According to the plea agreement, she opened a bank account in 1990, which she alone controlled, in the name of the city of Dixon. Between December 1990 and April 2012, she transferred funds from other city accounts and used it to pay personal and private business expenses.
Dixon’s mayor reported Crundwell to law enforcement in the fall of 2011 after another city employee assumed her duties during an extended unpaid vacation and brought the records of the secret account to the attention of the mayor.
Crundwell owned RC Quarter Horses and kept the animals at her ranch on Red Brick Road in Dixon and Meri-J Ranch in Beloit, Wis.