The Straits Times
Published on Nov 14, 2012

US town bookkeeper to plead guilty in $61m scam


CHICAGO (AP) - A small US town stunned by accusations that its long-time bookkeeper embezzled more than US$50 million (S$61.28 million) will hear her admit it in court on Wednesday, according to federal prosecutors.

Rita Crundwell is the former comptroller of Dixon, Illinois, the boyhood home of former President Ronald Reagan. She is scheduled to plead guilty to a federal charge that accuses her of stealing public money while overseeing the town's public finances and siphoning it into a secret bank account, US attorney's spokesman Randall Samborn said.

Residents of the town had come to trust the 58-year-old woman to manage the town's finances with little oversight. Prosecutors say her scheme unravelled only after a co-worker filling in for her while she was on vacation stumbled upon the secret bank account.

"It is a pity and tragedy - for us and herself," Mayor James Burke said. "But having said that, the people who care about the community are looking forward, not backward."