Horse breeder accused of embezzling millions enters plea

Authorities say woman embezzled more than $50 million

A former government official for a city in Illinois accused of fraudulently obtaining more than $53 million from the town since 1990 and using the proceeds to finance her Beloit horse breeding business and lavish lifestyle has entered a plea deal.

Rita Crundwell, the former comptroller in Dixon, Ill., pleaded guilty in court Wednesday.

Crundwell is the former comptroller of the city of Dixon, Ill. The FBI said Crundwell embezzled millions and used the money to pay for championship horses at her ranch in Illinois and the Meri-J Ranch in Beloit.

Since Crundwell was arrested in April and accused of misappropriating more than $30 million since 2006, further investigation resulted in the indictment’s expanded allegation that the fraud exceeded $53 million and spanned more than two decades, according a U.S. Department of Justice news release.

Crundwell will be back in court for sentencing in early February.