City official with ties to Beloit accused of stealing $30 M - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

City official with ties to Beloit accused of stealing $30M

Courtesy: American Quarter Horse Association Courtesy: American Quarter Horse Association

DIXON, Ill. (WKOW) -- A government official with a champion horse farm in Beloit is accused of stealing more than $30 million in city funds.

Tuesday the FBI arrested 58-year-old Rita Crundwell of Dixon, Illinois. She faces a federal charge of stealing more than $3.2 million from the City of Dixon since last fall. But authorities believe she may have been taking money since 2006 and the real amount may be closer to $30 million.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Crundwell is one of the best horse breeders in the world. Her Meri-J Ranch in Beloit produced more than 50 world champions according to the American Quarter Horse Association.

FBI agents used seizure warrants on her home in Dixon as well as the farm in Beloit. Crundwell's attorney, Kirstin Carpenter of the Federal Defender Program, says her client has declined to comment on the case.

Crundwell has been the comptroller of Dixon since the 1980s and handled all the city's finances. She appeared in Federal Court in Rockford, Illinois Wednesday.

WKOW's sister station in Rockford, WREX, reported Wednesday Dixon Mayor James Burke held a press conference in regards to Crundwell's arrest. Burke said during the meeting with the FBI he became "sick to (his) stomach" and hoped that his suspicions turned out to be wrong.

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