Rita watches over every penny as if it were her own.
And it almost was.
The first sentence is a quote about Rita Crundwell, the Dixon comptroller sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison, is the subject of Kelly Richmond Pope’s documentary “All the Queen’s Horses,” one of the most interesting films you ever will see.
Pope, a professor who teaches – among other things – forensic accounting at DePaul University, interviewed people who knew and worked with Crundwell for years. She also uses entertaining graphics that make the concepts of how and what Crundwell did easy to understand.
In 2012, Crundwell was charged for embezzling $53 million over 20 years. Crundwell, a Dixon High School graduate, committed what is considered to be the largest case of municipal fraud in American history.
Although people in Dixon sometimes wondered where her money came from, they figured it was some kind of inheritance that allowed Crundwell to enjoy a lavish lifestyle that included a horse-breeding business. Some of the horses’ names – intentional or not – reflected what may have been Crundwell’s mindset. They included “I’m Money Too, “She Scores,” a horse that won seven world championships, and “Me, Myself and I.”
Although most fraudsters don’t want to take time off because they’re afraid they’ll be discovered, Crundwell – who had a house in Florida – was so confident she took a lot of time off from her job.
Pope shows us first-hand moments from Crundwell’s personal life and career, through interviews with residents and coworkers, Crundwell herself talking about her horses and fake receipts, and documents that list fictitious projects.
It’s a polished, engaging documentary that probably will leave you shaking your head … especially now that Crundwell has been released early from prison.
Running time: One hour and 11 minutes.
To watch the movie free on YouTube, visit here.