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Originally posted on National Post | News:

CHICAGO — The longtime bookkeeper of a small U.S. city pleaded guilty Wednesday to allegations she embezzled more than $50 million to fund a lavish lifestyle.

Rita Crundwell is the former comptroller of Dixon, Illinois, the boyhood home of former President Ronald Reagan. She pleaded guilty to a charge of wire fraud in federal court and was allowed to remain free until her Feb. 14 sentencing hearing.

She’s accused of stealing public money while overseeing the city’s public finances and siphoning it into a secret bank account, U.S. attorney’s spokesman Randall Samborn said.

It is a pity and tragedy — for us and herself

People had come to trust the 58-year-old Crundwell 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…

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