Crundwell pleads guilty

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Former Dixon, Illinois comptroller Rita Crundwell pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge Wednesday, November 14, 2012.

Senior U.S. District Judge Philip Reinhard accepted the plea at a 9 a.m. hearing in federal court in Rockford, Illinois.

The fraud charge alleged Crundwell used her position to take more than $53 million from the city’s accounts over a time period of a little more than two decades.

Crundwell was arrested in April and had previously pleaded not guilty to the charge in May 2012.

She remains free on bond after changing her plea to guilty.  Sentencing is set for February 14, 2013 at 9 a.m.  Crundwell faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison at a fine that could total twice the gross gain from her crime.  The government expects she’ll be sentenced to between 15 years and 8 months to 19 years and 7 months in prison.

Crundwell also faces 60 separate counts of felony theft in Lee County Court.  She pleaded not guilty to those charges October 31, 2012.