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Early release from Pekin prison for ex-government official in $54 million theft


DIXON (KWQC and WEEK) - City leaders in Dixon confirm their former comptroller, convicted of stealing nearly $54 million in public money, has been released several years early from the Pekin federal prison.

Rita Crundwell was supposed to stay behind bars until October 2029, but the Dixon city manager contacted a prison official who confirmed Crundwell had been freed. No reason was given for her release.

Crundwell admitted stealing from the city since 1990, using the money to finance a luxurious lifestyle and a her quarter horse farming business. Federal prosecutors said it was the largest theft of public funds in state history.

In a Facebook post, city leaders said they opposed Crundwell's petition for early release for health reasons in 2020. She wound up withdrawing that request.

Dixon Mayor Liandro Arellano expressed frustration that Crundwell was released.

“It is incredibly frustrating that Dixon was given no victim notification of Rita Crundwell’s release," Arellano said in a prepared statement.

"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 mayor added.

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