Thursday, February 14, 2013

Dixon, Illinois CASE CLOSED ... Lessons for All Municipalities and Governments

The judge has sentenced the Dixon, Illinois comptroller and thief to 19 years and 7 months, beginning immediately. It's sad but it's a just sentence.

All in all, my take is that it's just too bad that the citizens of Dixon lost tens of million of dollars due to the decades long amateurish thievery of one person and the ongoing gross negligence of countless Dixon public officials in not catching the thief sooner.

Crundwell 'truly sorry' as judge gives her more than 19 years reports the breaking news from Illinois:

"Disgraced former Dixon comptroller Rita Crundwell was sentenced today to about 19 1/2 years in prison for what authorities have called the largest municipal fraud in the country’s history.

U.S. District Judge Philip Reinhard ordered Crundwell taken into custody immediately to begin serving the sentence of 19 years and 7 months.

"I'm truly sorry to the city of Dixon and my family and my friends," Crundwell said as she choked up before the sentencing, her first show of emotion since she was charged last April.

The judge spoke of the "sheer magnitude" of Crundwell’s fraud and her callousness in carrying it out over more than two decades.

"You showed much greater passion for the welfare of your horses than the people of Dixon you represented," Reinhard told Crundwell. "You lived the lifestyle befitting a wealthy person, and you did this on monies that weren’t yours.". . .

Several Dixon city officials – including the police chief and a city commissioner – were called to the witness stand to detail how Crundwell’s massive thefts crippled the city budget – though Crundwell led employees to think the economy and late state payments were to blame for the cash crunch.

And Mayor James Burke read from a victim-impact statement, declaring that there was not a culture of corruption at the City Hall.

Looking directly at Crundwell, the mayor said, “I hope you find purpose and meaning in your life.”

For the first time, authorities hinted that Crundwell’s thefts may have started even earlier than first thought, as far back as 1988. Previously, prosecutors said the thefts began in December 1990. . . .

“There was trust that the city of Dixon placed in Rita Crundwell. … You can trust but you have to verify, and I think that’s the lesson for other municipalities, governments,” Assistant U.S. Atty. Joseph Pederson told reporters at the Rockford courthouse after the sentencing.

Burke said he was pleased to see Crundwell immediately taken into custody but said the sentencing was also emotional, “knowing her all these years and (to) think what a tragedy this whole thing is not only for the city but for her also.”

The mayor also questioned the sincerity of Crundwell’s apology, saying, “I think her conscience didn’t bother her at all.”"

Summing Up 

Trust but verify --- words well spoken.

Treat the people's money as if it were your own. That should be the stated responsibility of each government official entrusted with what once was our MOM and now is their OPM.

Because taken as a whole, "single dimes" add up.

In this case, they reached the sum of at least $54 million and went undiscovered for more than two decades.

To repeat, trust but verify --- words well spoken.

Thanks. Bob.

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