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Comptroller Stole £53 Million To Fund Lavish Lifestyle And Breed Horses

Rita Crundwell

A lot of the biggest fraud cases ever seen in the US have been unscrupulous characters ripping off banks and huge corporations.

But it's not always the case.

Sometimes public officials steal huge amounts of public money to fund their lavish lifestyles.

This is money earmarked for improving the area, repairing roads, paying for schools and generally improving the lives of people living there.

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One massive fraud was carried out in the City of Dixon, Illinois, over more than 20 years.

The perpetrator was Rita Crundwell - the former comptroller of the city.

She was a long term employee of the city, starting her career in 1970 while still at high school.

In 1983, she was given the role of comptroller.

Seven years later, she started her fraud.

Setting up a secret bank account, which she alone controlled, she began to siphon off cash.

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The account was the RSCDA - Reserve Fund , which stood for “Reserve Sewer Capital Development Account."

Of course, there was no such thing, and she never told anyone of the account's existence.

She repeatedly transferred city funds into the account, and used the money to pay for her personal and private business expenses.

These include farming horses, real estate and buying herself luxury cars.

She was arrested in April 2012.

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Money was used to fund successful horse breeding business

Police recovered around 400 horses, vehicles, trailers, a luxury motor home and expensive jewelry.

She used a lot of the cash she stole to fund a successful horse-breeding operation, which won a number of national competitions.

She was making more money selling the animals and equipment online.

The U.S Marshals Service recovered more than $12.38 million from her.

What happened?

Crundwell admitted wire fraud and agreed she also engaged in money laundering, in connection with stealing more than $53 million from the city since 1990 and using the proceeds to finance her luxurious lifestyle.

She was sentenced to nearly 20 years in federal prison for her fraud scheme.

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