Former Dixon comptroller that embezzled almost $54 million released from prison

Crundwell served less than half of planned sentence

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ROCHELLE ⏤ The City of Dixon confirmed Wednesday night that Rita Crundwell, its former comptroller that was convicted of embezzling almost $54 million, was released from prison Wednesday.

The release said a federal judge sentenced Crundwell to 19 years and seven months in federal prison on Feb. 14, 2013 and she was to serve 85 percent of the sentence. The City of Dixon said according to the Federal Bureau of Prison website, Crundwell was due to be released on Oct. 20, 2029. 

Dixon City Manager Danny Langloss contacted the Federal Correctional Institution in Pekin where Crundwell was being held and confirmed her release. 

“The prison official who provided this information did not know the reason for Crundwell’s early release,” the Dixon release said. 

On April 22, 2020, Crundwell petitioned a federal judge for early release based on her “deteriorating health condition” and the COVID-19 pandemic, the release said. 

On May 10, 2020, the Dixon city council and Langloss issued a letter to the Pekin Correctional Institution warden strongly opposing early release of Crundwell. Crundwell ultimately withdrew her request for release at that time, the release said.

Dixon Mayor Liandro Arellano expressed his frustration in the release that Dixon received no official notification of Crundwell’s release.

“It is incredibly frustrating that Dixon was given no victim notification of Rita Crundwell’s release,” Arellano wrote. “Dixonites are still dealing with the social and financial aftermath of the damage she did, and our community deserved notice of and reasoning for this decision.”

The City of Dixon said it will release more information as it becomes available. In a May 13, 2020 post on its website, the city said it has recovered approximately $40 million of the almost $54 million stolen by Crundwell.  

“The true amount lost by Dixon is much more than $14 million, primarily due to inflation and opportunity costs,” the post said. “$40 million went a lot further to pay for roads and other projects 10 or 20 years ago.”