United States v. Crundwell, No. 13-1407 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Crundwell, Comptroller of Dixon, Illinois since 1983, pleaded guilty to embezzling about $53 million from the city between 1990 and 2012. She used the money to support more than 400 quarter horses and a lavish lifestyle, which she had previously claimed to be the fruit of the horses’ success. During the last six years of her scheme, the embezzlement averaged 28% of the city’s budget. In exchange for her plea, the prosecutor limited the charge to a single count of wire fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1343. The crime’s impact on the population of Dixon played a major role in the district court’s decision to sentence her to 235 months’ imprisonment, substantially above the Guideline range of 151 to 188 months. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The district court pronounced a substantively reasonable sentence after giving Crundwell full opportunity to present evidence and arguments. The judge considered deterrence and addressed every one of her arguments. That he thought less of her cooperation than Crundwell herself did, and gave a lower weight to her age than she requested does not undermine the sentence’s validity.