Former Dixon comptroller Rita Crundwell has pleaded not guilty to charges she siphoned millions of dollars in public funds into a secret bank account. Crundwell on Wednesday appeared before Lee County Circuit Judge Ronald Jacobson for her arraignment on to 60 counts of theft tied to her alleged embezzlement of $53 million from the city's accounts. The case is separate from the federal case in Rockford in which Crundwell is charged with a single count of wire fraud. Crundwell is suspected of stealing the money over two decades and using it to sustain a lavish lifestyle and a nationally renowned horse-breeding operation. Federal authorities have auctioned off items Crundwell allegedly obtained with city funds. If Crundwell is convicted, the US Marshal's Service and Dixon will get the money.
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