Woman accused of using embezzled money to run horse farm

A government official in Illinois is accused of embezzling her city’s finances.

The FBI said Rita Crundwell embezzled millions in part to run her Beloit horse farm.

The owners of McDaniels Tack Shop outside of Beloit said it was obvious Crundwell had a lot of money but it was unclear where it was coming from.

“Every once in a while we used to stop through and walk through the barns and admire what they had,” said Richard McDaniel, co-owner of McDaniels Tack Shop.

“We had heard so much about Rita, and she’d been to shows for many years. She’s done a lot of winning. She’s had a lot of really good horses, very high valued horses,” said JoAnn McDaniel, co-owner of McDaniels Tack Shop.

Federal investigators allege that Crundwell, the comptroller for the city of Dixon in Illinois, embezzled $30 million in the last six years. They said she used the money to pay for championship horses at her ranch in Illinois and the Meri-J Ranch in Beloit.

Residents said it’s upsetting to learn about the alleged crimes.

VIDEO: Woman accused of using embezzled money to run horse farm

“First of all, I’d like to thank the FBI for their comprehensive response to our request for a criminal investigation into this matter. This is a traumatic, upsetting event that the citizens and council are experiencing,” said Dixon Mayor Jim Burke.

Police living near the ranch in Beloit said they didn’t know much about their neighbor.

“When I first heard it, I really couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” Richard McDaniel said.

The Meri-J Ranch in Beloit declined to comment Wednesday.