CHICAGO (AP) — Allegations that a finance officer for a small northern Illinois city was able to steal a staggering $30 million from government coffers to run a nationally renowned horse breeding business inspired calls Wednesday for more rigorous oversight in small communities that typically face less scrutiny.Dixon's mayor pledged new measures to protect the city's finances a day after FBI agents arrested longtime comptroller Rita Crundwell. She is accused of using the money to fund one of the nation's leading horse breeding operations and feed a lavish lifestyle that kept her outfitted with cars and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of jewelry.
According to a criminal complaint, the siphoning of city funds went undetected for years until another staffer filling in as vacation relief became suspicious and discovered a secret bank account. How an enormous sum — it dwarfed the city's current annual budget of $20 million — could be stolen and escape the notice of a yearly audit left many puzzled.
A Chicago-based corruption watchdog, the Better Government Association, called it a wakeup call for state and local officials to put in place better safeguards, especially in smaller towns that lack rigorous oversight.
Staggering $30M theft from tiny Ill. city - Houston Chronicle