- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

DIXON, Ill. (AP) - Former Dixon comptroller Rita Crundwell, who was convicted of stealing nearly $54 million from the northern Illinois city, has argued that her pension shouldn’t be part of court-ordered restitution.

Crundwell said in an Aug. 30 letter to the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. State’s Attorney’s Office that her pension money should be exempt from her restitution payments. She pleaded guilty to wire fraud and was sentenced to nearly 20 years in a federal prison in Waseca, Minnesota.

Court documents show motions are set in Chicago federal court on Sept. 29 about Crundwell’s Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, and a Nationwide Retirement Solutions fund.

“I wish to object to the inclusion of these funds in the judgment,” she said in the letter, according to The (Dixon) Telegraph (http://bit.ly/1uhudM0 ). “I feel these funds should be exempt.”

Crundwell also asked in the letter that the court appoint her a lawyer because she has “no money or assets to hire an attorney.”

The city of Dixon received $9.2 million from the sale of Crundwell’s property and assets. The city also received a $30 million settlement with its former bank and auditors. The settlement money doesn’t count toward the amount Crundwell owes in restitution, which is $44.4 million according to court records.

The city has put some of the money into savings. It also has paid debts, allocated money to repair the public library and funded a sewer project.

Prosecutors say Crundwell stole the money over 22 years as Dixon’s bookkeeper, even while the city was having trouble paying its bills. She used the money to live lavishly and to build a nationally-renowned horse-breeding operation.

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Information from: Dixon Telegraph, http://www.saukvalley.com

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