Former Dixon, Illinois comptroller Rita Crundwell will spend nearly 20 years in prison and her sentence begins immediately.
After hearing testimony from five witnesses and closing arguments from attorneys on both sides of the case, U.S. District Judge Philip Reinhard handed down a sentence of 235 months in federal prison for Crundwell just after 11 a.m. Thursday, February 14, 2013.
The sentence amounts to just over 19 years in prison. With good behavior, Crundwell would be in federal prison until she is 77 years old.
The judge said Crundwell must also pay restitution to the victims of her crimes. He called the $53 million amount stolen worthy of him handing down a sentence at the higher end of the possible range for prison time. She faced up to 20 years in prison.
Her attorney argued for leniency because Crundwell has cooperated with investigators.
Crundwell apologized at the hearing to her family, friends and to the city of Dixon.
Crundwell was taken into custody immediately following sentencing.
She still faces 60 counts filed separately against her in Lee County, Illinois.