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Witnesses testify at Crundwell sentencing hearing

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Several witnesses testified at a sentencing hearing for former Dixon, Illinois comptroller Rita Crundwell at the federal courthouse in Rockford, Illinois.

Five people were called to the stand during the hearing, which began at 9 a.m. Thursday, February 14, 2013.

FBI agent Patrick Garry testified about his claim that, in addition to the money she was accused of stealing from the City of Dixon, Crundwell also took money from accounts belonging to Dixon’s four sister cities located all over the world.

Garry said he became aware of the sister city accounts in an April 2012 search of Crundwell’s home, during which he found 33 checks totaling just over $25,000.

Dixon Mayor Jim Burke read a written statement reiterating his belief that Crundwell was the sold person responsible for two decades of fraud in the scheme to take money from Dixon’s city accounts.

Burke previously said he hoped Crundwell would receive the maximum sentence.

Crundwell was in the courtroom during the testimony.  She was not expected to testify.

Attorneys for the prosecution and defense were delivering closing arguments by late morning.

The judge presiding over the courtroom said he did not expect to take a break during the hearing.

Story filed before February 14 hearing began:

An FBI agent is supposed to testify in court Thursday that former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell stole more money than previously thought.

Prosecutors have released a document alleging that Crundwell stole another $25,000 from a Sister City Account that was set up to receive charitable donations from the town's sister cities. The document says she stole the $25,000 from 1988 to 1990 and converted used that money for her own personal use.

The document alleges Crundwell stole the money "to pay personal expenses."  Dixon was believed to have four sister cities at the time.

As previously reported, Dixon Mayor Jim Burke will testify in court Thursday in Crundwell's sentencing. He hopes that Crundwell gets the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. In November, Crundwell pled guilty to stealing $53 million from Dixon since 1990.

In the meantime, Crundwell's public defender Paul Gaziano has said he wants Crundwell's sentence to be "lenient." He claims Crundwell has cooperated with the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service. He also claims the sentencing should be lenient because her crime did not involve physical violence.

Crundwell also faces 60 counts of theft in her state case in Lee County, Illinois.