Don't Look a Fraud Horse in the Mouth | The Case of Dixon, Illinois

Dixon, Illinois is a small town with a population of 15,000 people. Hear how one woman, Rita Crundwell, managed to pull off the largest municipal fraud in history--stealing over $53 million dollars.

Caleb: Thank you to our sponsor, Avalara. Avalara's award-winning tax automation solutions helps accounting practitioners and businesses of all sizes simplify sales tax compliance with real-time rates, automated returns filing, and more. Listen for a special offer later in the show. This is "Oh My Fraud", a true-crime podcast that features embezzlement instead of executions. I'm Caleb Newquist.

Greg: And I'm Greg Kyte.

Caleb: Greg, it's great to be back.

Greg: Exciting.

Caleb: Let me ask you something. In case people don't know, where do you live?

Greg: I live in Provo, Utah.

Caleb: Provo. Right. And so just a few questions about Provo. Home of Brigham Young University if I'm not mistaken.

Greg: That's right. I'm deep in the heart of Mormon land.

Caleb: Okay. Great. So I know Mormon, they're a gentlefolk. But I will still ask, does Provo have its own police force?

Greg: I mean, you're right, they're gentlefolk, a law-abiding group of gentlefolk. And regardless of that, yes, we have a police force.

Caleb: Okay. And does Provo have its own fire department?

Greg: Yes. Yes, we do. We've got a fire department.

Caleb: Okay. And what about public libraries?

Greg: We have a great public library in Provo, and it is full of only copies of the Book of Mormon. There is nothing else except that.

Caleb: Okay. So an unusual library, but a public library, nonetheless. Okay.

Greg: Yes. Yes.

Caleb: Parks, playgrounds?

Greg: Of course. Parks and playgrounds. All the kids out here. Yes, we've got a bazillion.

Caleb: Yeah, they got to send them out.

Greg: The nicest.

Caleb: Yeah, they got to send them out. Okay. And speaking of nice things, what about your streets? Are your streets nice? Like the roads.

Greg: Streets are serviceable. It depends on which street you're talking about. But by and large, we got some decent streets. I don't think we've got the worst street. I think I want to throw some shade on Idaho. I believe when you drive on I-15 from Utah to Idaho, you can tell right when the state line is because all of a sudden, the road's really shitty as soon as you cross into Idaho. Do something about at Idaho.

Caleb: Huh? Do you think they're trying to deter people away?

Greg: No, I think Utah is trying to flex on them. This is what they do. So all of our public road money goes right to the border so that people are like, "Oh, this is God's country." You can feel it.

Caleb: Okay. Cool. Oh, and one last question. Public schools, you have those, right?

Greg: Yes. Yeah, we've got public schools galore.

Caleb: Okay. I mean, you're humoring me wonderfully, I'll say. So just humor me a bit more. How does this stuff get paid for, do you know?

Greg: Taxes. Actually, if you want to talk to my boss, he's an 85-year old retired surgeon who obviously, all of his kids are out of the nest at age 85. And if you talk to him, it's through all of those property taxes that he has to pay for. He's so butt hurt about property taxes. He's like, "I pay thousands of dollars in property taxes, and they all go to schools, and I don't have any kids in school anymore. This is crap. I hate everything."

Caleb: Yeah. Why would we educate our youth? Why would we educate our youth?

Greg: Right. Exactly. No, but he's very grumpy about it. So yeah, taxes. Yeah. So it's taxes. A lot of it's property taxes, a lot of it's the sales taxes, a lot of it's a cut. In the state of Utah, we do have a state income tax. So there's a cut of that. That gets divvied out to the different jurisdictions throughout the state. So yeah, taxes, taxes.

Caleb: And I imagine, does Provo have a city tax, or do they do like it mostly through a sales and property and other kind of stuff?

Greg: Yeah. No city income tax. But you do have the sales tax thing that the company, Avalara, does so well in terms of putting together and automating and making it simple.

Caleb: So all this stuff. All this stuff, cops, libraries, playgrounds, schools. [crosstalk].

Greg: Oh, wait, wait. Listen, in Utah, no, we also pay for things through state liquor stores. We don't have any private run liquor stores. If you even want to buy a bottle of wine, you can buy beer in a grocery store, but that's it. If you even want wine, you got to go to a-

Caleb: State-Owned liquor store.

Greg: ... State-Run liquor store. And all that sinful liquor goes back into the state coffer. So it's taxes and booze. That's what funds are, roads and schools in Utah.

Caleb: All right, cool. So taxes pay for all this stuff. And like on the city level-

Greg: And booze.

Caleb: Yeah. Right. And at the city level, that's basically how it works in every town in America. That's my understanding of it. Okay. Cool.

Greg: Yeah. I don't know of any that's different than that. And even I've got to assume that the alcohol money is a very small slice of the funds right here in Utah.

Caleb: Even. And so because cities are kind of in the government world, cities are kind of... They're small operations compared to like the federal government, compared to state governments. But like at the local level, I think people kind of forget about just there's local governments. I live in Littleton, Colorado. I think we have a city manager form of government. And it sounds like Provo has a very nice thing going there.

And like all these other small towns around big metropolitan areas, they all have their own governments. And they have taxes, and they use those taxes to pay police and fire departments and pay for schools and all this stuff. And I guess the reason that we're talking about all this is, is we want to tee up this show, and local government is the focus and specifically how one massive fraud in one small town was hiding just right under everyone's nose, and the perpetrator was just as shocking to that community as the crime was.

Greg: Yep.

Caleb: Yeah. Any thoughts, Greg, municipal fraud?

Greg: Yeah. Well, again, like you're saying, I mean, two things that we know just from the data and from the reports from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners is that the organizations that get hit hardest by fraud are small businesses and small government. I mean, that's been the case forever. So on this episode, we are going to be looking at what I like to think of as a very...

We're playing the hits. We're looking at a classic case, even though it's only, what... It's not even 10 years old from when this was discovered and prosecuted. But this is a big deal. A lot of people know about it. There's a documentary that's been made about it. So yeah, I'm excited to look into this and to give it the special, "Oh My Fraud" treatment of looking at the things we look at that might have been overlooked or undersized by some of the other places that you've heard of the Rita Crundwell, Dixon, Illinois, the queen of the horse breeding world fraud embezzlement case.

Caleb: Right. So when we come back, we'll get into, don't look a fraud horse in the mouth. So stick around. This episode is about a small town that probably isn't that different from the small town where many of you may live. And the town we're talking about is Dixon, Illinois. Dixon is about a hundred miles.

Greg: I've never-

Caleb: Oh, sorry.

Greg: I've never been there. Have you ever been through Dixon, Illinois?

Caleb: I have not. I have not. I've been to Illinois a number of times, but I've never been to Dixon. Dixon is west of Chicago, about a hundred miles. And it's the county seat in Lee County. In the 2020 census, it had a population of 15,274,

Greg: That's very small. There's a lot of stadiums, a lot of basketball coliseums that could seat every single citizen of Dixon, Illinois.

Caleb: Yes. Yes. And so I think it's one of those cities... At least the sense that I get about Dixon is that it's a city where a lot of the people that live there, they know each other, they know what going on around town. There's this intimacy and familiarity. I grew up in a small town, a town much smaller than Dixon. But the idea being that in towns like this, in places like this, people feel close, they like doing business with a handshake. There's this underlying trust throughout the community.

So it's these circumstances, the circumstances of Dixon, Illinois, small town, people like each other, people trust each other. It's these circumstances that allowed one city employee, the municipal comptroller, Rita Crundwell, to perpetrate a massive embezzlement scheme for over 20 years to the tune of $54 million. And this is believed to be the largest municipal fraud in US history.

Greg: Yeah. Yeah. Big deal.

Caleb: So this comptroller, Rita Crundwell, she was a towny. She was a Dixon, Illinois high school graduate. She began working at the city of Dixon in 1970. And she became like one of those high school to work things. And she became the city comp controller in 1983. You mentioned the documentary, they describe her as kind of this rising star. She was just very bright and nice-looking, popular. And she showed horses as a young person. And so she began this career as a civil servant, and she did it for 40 years.

Greg: So wait. So she began working at the city in 1970.

Caleb: Yes.

Greg: So that was when it started. And she became the comptroller in 1983.

Caleb: Correct.

Greg: That's a long career.

Caleb: Yeah. And as I recall, it was basically the comptroller, her boss at the time, was retiring. And basically, she was the era parent.

Greg: The era parent.

Caleb: And so she became the comptroller. Because people were already impressed with her, and she was starting to build trust. She had a great reputation. Like I said, she was a homegrown, Dixon, Illinois citizen. And so, yeah. It makes perfect sense in a small town with a small city government where you got somebody who's doing good work, hang on to them.

Greg: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I mean, again, the way I heard the story of Rita Crundwell getting into the position that she got into, it seems like she just kind of fell into all of it where it was almost... I mean, I don't think this was quite it, but at least the feel the story was like, "Hey, kids. Hey, it's your junior year. Let's take a field trip to city hall. What do you say?" And she goes and goes, "Hey, I guess I'll work here."

And then all of a sudden, she just has a job at city hall doing city hall stuff. And then, like you said, it's like, "Ah, our old comptroller, he is old and doesn't want to do it anyway. Hey, Rita. Hey. Hey, Rita, you want to be the comptroller at our city?" She's like, "Okay." And so then she's the comptroller and that's how it is. And what's crazy, also her education level was she had a high school diploma, she did not have any higher education.

Caleb: Correct. I mean, in order to be a comptroller, do you think you need a college education, Greg?

Greg: Well, that's the thing. Probably not in a city of 1500 people.

Caleb: 15,000? 15,000.

Greg: Sorry, 15,000 people. Probably not. And I think probably the dynamic, probably that dynamic that we're just talking about. But people are just like, "Hey, she does great at this, and she doesn't have a degree. Who cares? She's good. Let her do it. No big deal." I imagine that's probably more the dynamic.

Caleb: Yeah. And I think the circumstances around Dixon and Rita, again, small government, city government. The budget was around 8 million, 9 million. They had a small staff. It was Rita and the other woman who worked with her, her name was Kathe Swanson. She was the city clerk. But especially Rita, she was trusted by everybody. And she had a nickname for all her coworkers, so she's affable. So here's an interesting thing in the research.

So Dixon, their form of city government was kind of unusual. I'm reading from Chicago Magazine. It says, "Since 1911, Dixon has been run by a commission form of government, an old model used by only 50 out of the 1300 municipalities in Illinois. Power is divided among five people, a mayor, four part-time commissioners who oversee their fiefdoms, fiefdoms."

Greg: Fiefdoms.

Caleb: Fiefdoms. Fief?

Greg: Yeah. Yeah. It's the same root word of FIFA, the soccer commission.

Caleb: I think so. Anyway, in this case, it was public property, public health, safety, streets and public improvements, and finance. And the mayor made 9,600 a year, and the commissioners made $2,700 a year each, which is too say-

Greg: That's like Scrooge McDuck and Money.

Caleb: Which is to say this wasn't their full-time job. Basically, you've got part-timers who are doing civil service jobs, or maybe they're elected positions, but whatever the case may be, this isn't their full-time gig. Dixon is in that kind of a situation where yes, they have like a $9 million budget, but they're not spending that money on administration. With the exception of Rita, the comptroller, and Kathe, the city clerk. I mean, not even the mayor's fulltime. The commissioners aren't full-time. And so oversight may be a bit sparse in a situation like that. Right?

Greg: Yep. It absolutely is. All these people in these part-time positions are going, "Okay, we're making decisions. We're going to figure out how the city's going to run, but then we rely on the small full-time staff that we have to actually execute decisions that we make.

Caleb: Right. So just to give you an idea of what that looked like, Rita's job duties looked like this. She picked up the mail, she made the deposits, she made journal entries and adjustment, adjusting journal entries. She prepared and signed the checks. She moved the money around; she made the transfers. And she reconciled the bank accounts.

Greg: Do you remember, was it Kathe Swanson was the coworker?

Caleb: Yes. The city clerk.

Greg: She was a city clerk. So was she just sort of all-around utility player for the city?

Caleb: I got that impression. And I mean, she did support Rita in a lot of these finance areas, but Rita had control over all these key areas, the stuff that I just listed. And also, I think what's important-

Greg: Well, yeah. I guess the clerk would have lots of other responsibilities, probably clerical in nature. I mean, just to go out on a limb, but also along with that, I'm sure she provided a support for the comptroller of the city. Which is clear in terms of just how the case unfolded as well.

Caleb: And so one more thing-

Greg: But the other... Go ahead.

Caleb: Oh yeah. The one more thing, just to give you an idea of the circumstances around Rita Crundwell, and this is back from the Chicago Magazine, which is a really long, but very good, well-reported article. It said, "The budget and financial statements was an obtuse mix of loan balances and inter-fund transfers with revenues all labeled as revenue. Tracing the inflows and outflows is impossible." So in other words, Rita was the only person that could... She basically created this own like Kafkaesque little fiefdom of her own where she was the only one who knew what was going on and nobody else could make sense of it. Maybe we'll talk about it later, but anytime people had questions like, "Oh, ask Rita." That's inevitably where people came back to was like, "Oh, ask Rita. Rita knows the answer," this and that and whatever.

Greg: Right. Well, and I think those were two of the big things that helped her stay in her position and helped her perpetrate the fraud was like we said. Nobody ever said that she was not a nice person. She was pleasant. She was pleasant to friendly with everyone. And the other thing that everyone talks about is she was very competent at her job. She was, I mean, very competent. I would say she was excellent at her job. If you needed a contact at some vendor for the city, you'd just be like, "Hey, Rita, who's that guy." And she'd be like, "Oh, it's this person." She was the answer lady for all things finance and probably beyond for the city. So both of those things endeared her to everybody that she worked for and built trust with everyone that she worked for. Because competence, it's a great... I'd say-

Caleb: It looks good on most people. Competence.

Greg: Yeah. It's not going to hurt your trustability.

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Greg: Yeah. And surprisingly simple scheme.

Caleb: It is. It is.

Greg: I said this a surprisingly simple scheme, but it's only surprising because of the amount of money that she pulled out of the city and the duration that this simple scheme was able to... That she was able to, to keep it going. But not surprising in that it's just a teeny tiny government. And she's not super sophisticated. Like we said, it's not like she had massive amounts of training in accounting and finance. So yeah. So it's surprising, but at the same time kind of not.

Caleb: Yep. So here's how it worked. City of Dixon had six legitimate accounts at Fifth Third Bank.

Greg: Okay. I got to stop you right there. Do not trust any financial institution that's named after an improper fraction. That's bullshit. That name, it should not be... There should be a state law that prohibits the name of Fifth Third Bank. So it's the 15th bank. Is that what you're trying to say? Is it 1.67 bank? That sits poorly with me.

Caleb: Yeah. I mean, for a number-

Greg: That's a red flag.

Caleb: For a numbers business, it should be a red flag. Anyway. So there were six legitimate accounts, bank accounts. Rita moved a lot of the money that came into these various accounts. She moved a lot of it into the capital development fund. So most cities, they have general fund, they have other funds. But capital development, capital projects, whatever, common for city government. In 1990, December of 1990, she created a new secret account, and she was the primary account holder, with a second account holder listed as RSCDA Care of Rita Crundwell. And RSCDA stood for Reserve Sewer Capital Development Account.

Greg: And her secret account was named Reserve Sewer Capital-

Caleb: Development Account.

Greg: Development Account.

Caleb: That's the secret account.

Greg: That's the secret one.

Caleb: That's the secret one. And so she would create phony invoices for phony capital development projects, sidewalk street prayers, whatever. And then draw the check on the Capital Development Fund to those projects. And that money would go into the Reserve Sewer Capital Development Account. Yep. Invoice triggers the payment. And from there, she just paid for stuff directly out of that secret account because nobody knew about it. And that's how she paid for all the loot, which we'll get into the loot in a minute. But she did this.

Greg: Which again, that's the other small-town vibe that we've got off of this whole thing, it's like, "Oh, you work for the city. Oh, you want to open an account at our bank? Oh, what's the name of the account? Reserve Sewer Capital Development Account. Awesome. Who's the signer on this? Just you? Okay, cool. Right on. Here's your bank account. See you. Thanks." And she's like, "What address do you want these statements to go to? Oh, your home address. Right on. I guess you work from home.

Caleb: No joke.

Greg: Cool. Wave of the future.

Caleb: I seriously doubt it was... You're not exaggerating is what I'm trying to say. It's like it was probably almost that simple.

Greg: Right. Well, and the crazy thing, I mean, think of the timeline too. So she started working for the city of Dixon, Illinois in 1970. She opens the bank account in 1990. She's already a 20-year employee of this city. So again, you're like going, "Okay, you've been here forever. Cool. What do you need, Rita?" Awesome. Done. And I'm sure Fifth Third Bank, which again, how many banks do you have in Dixon, Illinois, but Fifth Third Bank, I'm sure it's been the bank of the city for all 20 of those years. So she knew all these people for forever, and it really was probably just that easy. "This Is what I want. Do it. Cool. Thanks. See you."

Caleb: And so she did this. She processed and paid these phony invoices. And like you say, there's nothing complicated about this. It's a phony account, phony invoices. There's not a phony PO BOX or anything else like that where the phony vendors are or anything like that. And then she just paid for her stuff right out of the phony account.

Greg: Yeah. Yeah. Very, very simple. And what's weird... Do we want to get into the dollar amounts of what she stole and how quickly she stole it?

Caleb: Yeah. I want to make one point before we get into that. There's something interesting about, again, the circumstances around this fraud and which is this. Typically in your garden-variety fraud, the person that perpetrates it is working all the time. They never take time off because that's part of the game is in order to cover your tracks at any given time, you have to be aware of what's going on at any given time. And we haven't even started talking about the horses yet, which I think is kind of funny. But we're going to get into the horses. But because Rita, she showed quarter horses and was traveling a lot, she took tons of vacation. In some cases, in 2011, in the year before the fraud was found out, she took four weeks of paid leave, and then she took an additional 12 weeks off. She was gone all the time. And the way she was able-

Greg: Yeah. Ridiculous.

Caleb: Yeah. The way she was able to pull it off was she had a relative, I believe, pick up the mail while she was gone.

Greg: Wait, she had a relative do it, she didn't have Kathe Swanson?

Caleb: No. I'm almost certain that she had a relative pick up the mail while she was doing this additional traveling. And not only that. And so because she did so much traveling, she doctor-owned pay. And that's normal in any employer, if you take excess PTO, they're just like, "All right, well, you just don't get paid for that time." And that's exactly what she did. So it looks perfectly reasonable. I think that's one of the other remarkable things about this is that she was doing this for two decades and totally bucked the trend of fraudsters just working day and night to cover their tracks. No, she was living it up doing her thing.

Greg: Right. Well, an interesting data point, according to the ACFE's 2020 report to a nation refusal to take vacation. Rita took excessive vacations. But the people who just like, "I will not take any time off." That is a red flag for fraud. 7% of all frauds have people who just are like, "Never take vacations." And it's interesting too, because you said it was like it's part of the game that you don't take time off. I feel like that's actually, I want to say... This is an assumption. Tell me if you think I'm off base.

I would have to say that people who steal money from their employers, the part of the bargain that they didn't anticipate was that, oh shoot, now I can never leave my job because I will be discovered. So it's one of the unintended consequences of being an asshole is now you never get to leave the job that you just stole 53 million, $54 million from. But like you said, not the case with Rita Crundwell. And totally crazy.

Caleb: I like your characterization of it much better than mine for what it's worth.

Greg: Okay. And I want to get in, just real briefly-

Caleb: Get into the money. Yeah.

Greg: So $54 million is what she stole, between $53 and $54 million, it rounds to 54. But the crazy thing is her first year... So she opened that fake bank account, the very end of 1990. So in 1991, that year she stole $181,000 was all. Out of 54 million, 181 is a tiny fraction of that. But again, to keep it in context, the median loss due to fraud in 2020 for asset misappropriation was... And I probably should look this up and get the exact thing, but I believe it was $125,000 was the median loss due to fraud in 2020.

So the fact that she stole $181,000 in her first year back in 1990, that was pretty ballsy of old Rita. The most money she stole in any given year was in 2008 where she stole, in one year, $5.8 million, which was approximately... Listen, it was approximately two-thirds of the city's entire budget for that year. She took two-thirds of the budget for the whole year. I would've been more impressed if she took five-thirds of the city's budget, but two-thirds, still very impressive.

Caleb: That would've been a nice touch.

Greg: And she did that-

Caleb: She did that in 2009, in 2010.

Greg: 2008 is when the 5.8.

Caleb: Yes. And then I'm saying the two successive years after that, at least if I recall, she stole $5 million also.

Greg: Okay. Yeah. Those were the big year. And that was pretty close to the end because the end was in 2012. And that is something you see with fraud is that you see, over time, they get more and more comfortable taking the money, so they take more and more money. A couple other quick interesting facts about just the amount of money that she stole, $54 million, that works out to a little over $3,300 per citizen of Dixon, Illinois is what she stole. If you annualize that, it was 165.

And this is what makes it almost seem, not reasonable, but you know what I mean. It was $165 per person per year, is what she stole. So if you look at it like that, it's like, okay, how much are you paying in taxes? It's probably a lot more than 165 in a year. But 165 of what you paid per citizen. Obviously, there's a lot of citizens who are not taxpayers, per se, but still, 165 bucks per person per year, that's how you can make a lot of money in 20 years.

Caleb: And to put it in context, the largest municipal fraud prior to was in Washington DC. And it was a 48 million fraud. But there was 11 people involved. And Washington DC, it's not a big city, but it's a sizable city. So the fraud worked out to be about $80 per resident. The fact that the fraud in Dixon was $3,300 per citizen, is it impressive?

Greg: Bonkers. It's bonkers.

Caleb: I mean, we're, maybe we're burying the lead a little bit here, but like obviously, she's showing horses, she's flying around the country. Wow, she's driving around the country because you can't fly horses. Horses can't fly, can they? God. She's driving around the country showing horses.

Greg: She had the stables of Pegasus that she was flying around. That's how much money this lady had, is she had a herd of Pegasus, she just jump on the back of one and go, "Yipikayay, let's go to Champagne, Illinois," which is another city there that I have been to that.

Caleb: Anyway. There were serious cuts, not a laughing matter. The city of Dixon, they were slashing their municipal budget like crazy while this is all going on. And so the repercussions of all this money going into this account where she was just spending straight away, it's very tangible. The impact of it is very tangible. You can see it. I mean, it's a remarkable fraud for those reasons and more.

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Caleb: So Greg, I think maybe we haven't given the horses enough of...We haven't covered the horses to the extent that we should. Should we?

Greg: Okay. Let's talk horses.

Caleb: Let's talk about some horses. She had between 300 and 400 quarter horses in more than a dozen states.

Greg: Which is, again, bonkers. That's so many horses. It's ridiculous.

Caleb: Yeah. Even regular rich, wealthy affluent people don't have 400 horses.

Greg: Right. But do the math real quick. If you have 400 quarter horses, that actually only makes up a hundred full horses.

Caleb: I'm so glad you're here to focus on [crosstalk].

Greg: It's really a podcast just about fractions.

Caleb: Some of these one-fourth horses, they had some very ironic names, Greg?

Greg: Yeah, for sure.

Caleb: The big-prize winning horse, the name of that horse was Good I Will Be.

Greg: Yeah. Again, the irony with that name is ridiculous.

Caleb: Or is she just winking at everybody or giving the finger, some combination thereof? I don't know what's happening there.

Greg: You kind of want to how much this subconscious plays into stuff like this.

Caleb: Because here's some other names. I Execute Class. I'm Money Too. These are names of horses. She Scores. Pack and Jewels. Jewelry by Tiffany. What a stupid name.

Greg: Yeah. Well, all horse names are stupid.

Caleb: That's what I mean.

Greg: The product name, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter is the stupidest product name ever. That's a completely normal horse name, and it has been for decades. If you had a horse name, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, you go, "Yeah. That's a good horse name."

Caleb: Obviously, a good name there.

Greg: If you have a butter named, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, it's like who was marketing on this one? Ridiculous.

Caleb: All right, I got three more. And then we'll stop with this. Careful Who You Invite, Ain't I A Natural, and I Found A Penny.

Greg: So again, I think there's a lot of subconscious where it's like a lot of her horses were named about money stuff, about trust stuff and about bling.

Caleb: So Greg, this all came to an end, obviously, at some point. And the way it came to an end was someone we mentioned earlier her name was Kathe Swanson, city clerk. And she worked closely with Rita Crundwell. And as we mentioned, Rita took a lot of vacation. And when she was out of town, Ms. Swanson needed... She was working, I believe, on a, on a presentation for the city council or for the board.

And she needed all the bank statements to prepare for this council meeting. And so she called Fifth Third Bank and requested all the bank statements. So they sent all the bank statements. All the bank included bank statements for that secret account that nobody knew about. And so when she got those records, she saw these big deposits for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and that's where she saw this RSCDA reserve fund. I think I got this from

One of the articles I read about her, the ACFE, actually. The Fraud Magazine did a nice profile on her. But she said, "My first thought was that Rita put a private account under the city's name because she was buying and selling horses and shielding the money from the IRS. But that's when I really started looking at all the debits and credits," and she saw gas and things like that.

And she's like, "Wait, the city has its own pumps." Can you imagine in her brain, it must have just been like [INAUDIBLE] There must have been like fireworks going off? Or I don't know. Or maybe buildings imploding. I don't know. Whatever metaphor, visual works for you. But that must have been like a very strange feeling to just realize that "Wait a minute, what's going on?" She knew something was up.

Greg: Well, and I think, with an interview that I saw of her in that documentary, the "All The Queen's Horses," she said that Rita would always tell her, "Make sure when you call the bank to tell them exactly which accounts you need." And that was part of her instruction. And so this one time, which 20 years later, somebody finally says, "Hey, I just need all the banking statements."

And that's when it happens. But when she didn't ask for them by name, it's like, oh, I think that was part of... I mean, if we're talking about buildings imploding, that's what lit the charge for the buildings imploding is going, "Oh shoot, she always told me and gave me very explicit instructions to ask for each account exactly which ones I need. And the one time I don't, oh, there's this other, oh, why wouldn't she want me to get that one? Ooh, dang it. This is what's happening."

Caleb: Right. And I think, for Kathe Swanson and a lot of the other people that were close to this, it's inevitable. The question that comes up for people that are victims of this fraud is like, "Why are people doing this?" And it's weird because all the research I did, no motive is really ever identified. I don't know if you picked up on something different, Greg, but I never got the sense that they really landed on a motive.

Greg: Yeah. I mean, it didn't get a lot of play in the story what exactly her motive was other than just rank and file greed.

Caleb: Yeah, being rich.

Greg: She obviously really loved quarter horses, and that's not a cheap hobby. So it's sort of this is what I want to do, and this is a way that I can do what I want to do. And so, yeah, just basic greed and nothing beyond that is what it seems like. I think everybody feels comfortable with that is why motive wasn't explored anyway.

Caleb: They don't think about the consequences of their actions, which I think is pretty much the case in every fraud that's ever occurred. I mean, maybe not, but.

Greg: Well again, it's sort of the shortsightedness where you go, "Oh, I'm going to steal this money," and then you go, "Oh, shoot, now I can't ever leave my job again.

Caleb: Right. I can't take it.

Greg: So there's a lot. You're not looking at long-term planners and people who are setting five-year life plan goals. You got people who are like, "Oh, look, I can steal money this way. Sweet. Oh, shoot. Now I'm now I'm trapped."

Caleb: Yeah. And again, when you take into context a small town aspect of it, you don't think the person down the hall is ripping you and all of your fellow citizens off, you just don't. It just doesn't occur to people.

Greg: That's another interesting thing. We don't see any interviews with Rita Crundwell. We never see her giving her side of the story and telling what her motives are. And that's really the only way to get to what the motives would be. So apart from that, it's just speculation. If that's all we got, that's all we can do. And I think it's a fun activity to try to guess at it. But it's really just guesses until she talks about it. Another interesting point though, and I think this is why female fraudsters do get some additional... Where there's more questions as to what the motive would be is because typically you see a whole lot more fraud from men than you do from women. Women do not commit as much fraud.

Just in general, what, 72% of cases worldwide are perpetrated by men as opposed to 28. And then even in the United States, that's skewed by some other places in the world where women just don't generally have position of authority like they do in the United States. But in the United States, you're seeing 59% of frauds perpetrated by men. But what's weird is once you get into asset misappropriation, so the three main types of fraud, we got financial statement fraud, corruption, and asset misappropriation. So men totally dominate financial statement fraud and corruption, but women dominate asset misappropriation. So interesting facts there. I mean, just in the men versus women profiling of fraudsters.

Caleb: We talked about Kathe Swanson, the whistleblower. Long story short, she brought it to the mayor. She brought it to the attention of the mayor. He quickly contacted the FBI. Because it was just kind of plain as day what was going on, he contacted the FBI just to be sure. And they're like, "We think, we think you're right." And then they sat on it for six months. And so you watch the documentary, and Kathe Swanson, by the end of it, she was losing her wits. Because she wasn't able to tell anybody. She had a boyfriend, and she wasn't able to talk to him about it. And like she's stressed out because she basically has to go to work every day with someone that she knows has been lying through her teeth to her for 20 years. You know?

Greg: And in those six months, they watched her steal over three million more dollars while they were making their case, which is also... Again, small town, you're going, "She just took another $3 million. Why don't you stop this woman?" They're like, "Hey, listen, we know what we're doing."

Caleb: "We're the FBI."

Greg: "Do what we're saying. Just calm down and let us do our job."

Caleb: And so Kathe says, if you read the interview or if you watch the documentary, she was at her wits end. And she goes into the office, and she goes to the mayor, and she says, "I can't do this anymore." And he is like, "Today's the day." You couldn't write kind of a better way for it to unravel. And then yeah, the FBI comes in and they call Rita. The mayor calls Rita up to his office. And the gumshoes are sitting in there and he's like, "These two guys want to talk to you." And she's like, "All right." And she just spilled it, I guess. And then like 20-

Greg: And in the interview [crosstalk]-

Caleb: Like they say, 20 or 30 agents show up, and they shut the whole building down. It's just like the movies. And that was that.

Greg: Yeah. And crazy, she gave a full-on interview with the FBI without a lawyer, which again, that's weird. And when you talk about psychology and interpersonal dynamics, it's weird how many criminals are just AOK blabbing without a lawyer when it's like you know you did it, so right away, just go, nope. I think I want a lawyer right now. But again, being also an armchair psychologist, I got to go... Rita's going, "You know what a guilty person would do. They'd say, 'Hey, I'm not going to say anything until my lawyer's here.' So I'm going to just be like the cool one who's like, 'I'm cool. I'll talk to you."

Caleb: "What do you want to know?"

Greg: And then you guys are going to be like, "Oh, you are cool. So I guess it was somebody else's sold $54 million and 3.2 over the last six months." So yeah. So that was dumb. And the other funny thing, I think this is bizarre because at some point, I saw, I think it was during that interview, that Rita was like, "I think I took $10 million from the city." And from the context that I read, she wasn't lowballing just to try to get out of trouble by going, "Yeah, I only took $10, no big deal." So she wasn't trying to get out of it with that, but she just legitimately didn't have a great grasp on how much she had stolen over 20 years. So that's another just very interesting part of, I don't just think this fraud case, but a lot of frauds where people lose track of the money that they get for free and burn without a second thought.

Caleb: Yep. So Rita pled guilty to wire fraud and money laundering in November of 2012. And she was sentenced to 19 years and seven months in order to pay restitution of 107 million. So essentially, the amount she stole times two, that's how the judge figured out the penalty.

Greg: Right. Which is a bonkers amount of money. $107 million, when you don't have the city to steal it from anymore,

Caleb: A lot of money.

Greg: That's a ridiculous amount of money. And the only way she's going to be able to pay that much money is by stealing from a bigger city. That's the only way she can payback.

Caleb: Be comptroller at maybe Springfield or Illinois. Maybe. I don't know.

Greg: There you go. Yeah. Yeah. Are they hiring?

Caleb: Well, I don't know. But interesting little postscript to all this, Greg, is that Rita Crundwell has actually been released from prison. She served about nine years of her sentence, and she was released in August of 2021.

Greg: That's crazy.

Caleb: People are surprised, to say the least.

Greg: I would think insulted.

Caleb: Yeah, I too.

Greg: Yeah. Again, all this kind of fraud, it seems like the story's always like people do these horrendous things, but then they aren't punished... Even the punishment that's doled out, they backpedal it to, again, to an insulting degree. Do your clients need help with sales tax auto automation? Avalara can help your accounting practice start or grow an existing tax compliance practice while you gain efficiencies and reduce risk for you and your clients. Learn more about Avalara for Accountants, and you'll get a free gift. Meet with an expert to explore how Avalara can help your accounting practice grow, and they'll give you a $50 gift card. Contact Avalara at and mention the code "FRAUD".

Caleb: Our final segment is So What. This is where we lead a horse to water but can't make it pay restitution.

Greg: Exactly. This is the part of south park where they say, "What did we learn today?"

Caleb: Right. Yeah.

Greg: So I learned something today.

Caleb: Let's start with an easy lesson, Greg. We haven't brought this up yet, but we're going to talk about auditors. And the city of Dixon had an annual audit. And the firm, at that time, was still Clifton Gunderson, today known as Clifton Larson Allen. But they were sued when they went to recoup some of the stolen money. They did a number of different things. They had a big auction. And they sold semen and horses and saddles and trophies and things. But there was also some litigation. And Clifton Gunderson, the then Clifton Gunderson, was one of the chief targets of the litigation. And I would say, for good reason, they were doing the bookkeeping.

Greg: Absolutely good reason.

Caleb: They were doing the bookkeeping for the city of Dixon. And they also did the audit, which just blows my mind that they somehow were able to figure this out because there were massive conflicts of interest going on here.

Greg: Huge. Yeah. Doing the bookkeeping and doing the auto work, I mean, that's basic independence violation right there. So I'm so just boggled how Clifton Gunderson did any of this stuff. I mean, it's almost like there's more red flags for Clifton Larson Allen than there were for Rita Crundwell. And that was one of them.

Caleb: Just one point of clarification is someone did like call this out at some point, and there's another firm that also got sued. The firm is called Janis Card Associates. And essentially, what Clifton did is they essentially outsourced the bookkeeping to this firm who then became later also one of the defendants in the litigation. And that's how they were able to like, basically, I don't know, make it work.

Greg: Get around it. [crosstalk].

Caleb: Yeah, to get around it. Yeah. If you had more than a part-time mayor and part-time city council members, maybe they would've raised more hell about that, but I don't know. And so the auditors missed a lot of things. There were clues on the phony invoices, there were typos on the invoices, there were missing phone numbers. I don't want to say the projects were obviously fictitious, but they weren't...

It doesn't sound like they kind of failed to perform anything close to rigorous audit work to confirm that the projects were real, they knew about the secret bank account. They confirmed part of the confirmation process. They confirmed that account. The lawyer and the documentary holds up the confirmation. And the bank account is listed on there. I'm not even kidding. And they knew all of that.

Greg: That's bonkers too.

Caleb: They knew about all of it.

Greg: I don't get that.

Caleb: It's bad.

Greg: How could you know about that and not... I mean, again, totally bonkers if that's the case.

Caleb: If we allow ourselves to speculate a little bit, Greg, there's two key facts that make this even more interesting. Number one, Clifton Gunderson, then Clifton Gunderson, they prepared Rita Crundwell's tax returns. And, I believe, I remember in one case, they said there was$300,000 in undocumented income. And so that is strange. And also, I think this is actually my favorite, during the 1980s,there was a softball team. Clifton Gunderson had a softball team, and Rita Crundwell played on that softball team.

Greg: Which if there wasn't an independence issue before, there is... As soon as one of the people that you're auditing is your star pitcher in your fastpitch softball league. So in terms of the suit settlements, you want to talk about the total dollar amounts everybody's got.

Caleb: Yeah, I've got the details.

Greg: These are civil suits.

Caleb: Yeah. So they were able to recoup quite a bit of money. Clifton Gunderson paid about 35 million to settle.

Greg: Which is a ton.

Caleb: Which is a lot. They were on the hook for a lot. And rightly so. Greg's favorite bank, Fifth Third Bank they recouped about 3.8 million from Fifth Third. And then the other accounting firm that I mentioned, Janis Card and Associates, came up with a million. So right there, you were getting pretty close to about 40 million, just shy 40 million. I think.

Greg: Then if you add all the horses that they sold, they raised [crosstalk].

Caleb: What did they raise at auction?

Greg: About 10 million. As of 2015, they sold off almost... Well, actually as of 2015, they'd auctioned off and gotten revenue of over $9 million from her stuff. They projected that they would be able to get that up to about 10 million by the time all the auctioning was over. With all the quarter horses, all the frozen horse, semen, they were auctioning off her trophy and her clothes and her motor coaches and her homes and all that stuff, and they were thinking 10 million. So that's the crazy thing, too. She stole 53 million between the civil suits, and between the assets that they sold of Rita, they got back 50 of the $53 million. Which seems like that's also underplayed how much they actually recovered on this.

Now, that's not the net that they did because the other crazy thing was, as they were trying to auction off these horses, it was just an ungodly amount of money to maintain the horses. So they actually auctioned the horses off before trial was done with Rita because it was just too expensive to keep the horses. The thing that sticks out in my mind is like $200,000 a month just to keep the horses from not dying.

Caleb: Yes, sir. So I think there's lesson here. Well, let's remind everyone out there in podcast land, auditors are not responsible for detecting fraud.

Greg: They're not.

Caleb: Don't know why. This case would certainly raise the question as to why, but they're not responsible for detecting fraud.

Greg: But here's the thing. They're not responsible, but clearly, they are supposed to when it's this fucking obvious that it's happening. That's why they got sued for 35 million. So yeah. So in our engagement letters we say, "Hey, just so you know what we're doing here, we're not necessarily going to find fraud if fraud is there. That's not really what we're doing. But if it's like, hey, dumb, dumb, it was right there, then yeah, you were responsible for finding that fraud.

Caleb: Yep. All right. So lesson one, auditors, you bear some doing your jobs, dudes.

Greg: Do your job.

Caleb: Okay. Moving on. Here's the thing that we talk a lot about, Greg, and which is, in the case of small businesses, in this case, we're talking about a small government, just a complete dearth of resources. I mean just don't have the people, don't have the oversight. There was an internal auditor article that I read about municipal fraud. Sometimes, there's no mandates in place that say by law, you are required to do X, Y, and Z to monitor a city's finances. Immature governance processes, and then just like kind of lack of understanding and support of just kind of financial literacy.

And so I guess my question for you, Greg, as somebody who thinks a lot about this stuff, is are these just the circumstances that local governments have to kind of operate in or do they bear the responsibility? In this case, the mayor, the city council, are they really victims or do they bear some responsibility?

Greg: My answer to that is both of those are true. A, they are victims, but B, they also bear responsibility for it. Because ultimately, they are the oversight for the city. Now, are they compensated enough to really go through and dig through Rita's books? That's tough to say when your mayor is being paid less than $10,000 a year to govern the entire city, and the commissioners are paid less than $3,000.

So I think that there was some flaws in the way that the city was set up. But on the other hand, I mean, we see this. And when you were outlining Rita's responsibilities, it says that she would print the checks, she would sign the checks, and she would reconcile the bank statements. That's internal controls 101 is have different people do those three things.

And even if you can't have a different person, do all three of those, you need to do as much as that as you can. The easiest one is Rita shouldn't have been signing checks. She should have had zero checks signing authority. Because that's something, even if you don't get paid much, you don't have a lot of time. And it's not a for-sure thing that's going to prevent the fraud. But it's at least a roadblock. I mean, she's got to be a lot ballsier if she's not the one signing the checks to go for the invoices that get deposited then into the RSCDA account. And that's one of the things, I've noticed this too, banks kind of don't give a crap about your internal controls.

So I'm in a similar position at my job, very small. I'm basically in an accounting department of one, and I have to make sure that I set up the internal controls for myself to make sure that everybody's comfortable with what I'm doing at work. And there's a lot of transparency stuff that I've got to put in where I have to say, "Oh no, no, I am not a signer on this account, someone else has to be." So again, she could have perpetrated the fraud even with it appearing as though there's some separation of dues, but it would've been more difficult. That would've been just some of the basics that you could do. Even with minimal resources, you can have somebody else sign the checks.

Caleb: Yeah. And I guess the other thing that I think about a lot is it's situations like this that really cause a lot of people to lose their faith in government. And I think that's a huge problem. As far as lessons are concerned, I that's a lesson that I don't know how that improves, at least in the short term. One possibility. Go ahead. Sorry.

Greg: Well, I think you touched on it too. It seems like there should just be some regulation where it's like, hey, guess what? I mean, you can regulate a requirement for basic internal controls. Where it's like, hey, you can't have the same person write the checks and sign the checks. I'm actually a little bit surprised that that's not widely already law in municipality.

Caleb: Yeah. I think you're right. I think that is probably one of the shortest route to basically codifying accountability. And I think another thing that you could codify in something like that, if you were going to legislate some of this is your favorite, Greg Kyte, is transparency. And the idea that civil employees, especially administrative and finance ones, that their work will be monitored. There will be oversight of some kind.

And I think you and I have had a lot of conversations within the context of ethics, but I think transparency in government, it kind of cuts both ways. It's something that people want, but it's also kind of considered a joke. And so to the extent that local governments can make... I believe, gosh, I saw something about, I think in Illinois, there was a government transparency project of some kind. And basically, they suggested you make the check register public. And I'm like, "That's not the worst idea I've ever heard."

Greg: No. That sounds like a great idea.

Caleb: It seems like a pretty good idea, actually.

Greg: Yeah. Well, have you ever been to a city council meeting?

Caleb: Yes.

Greg: Have you ever actually gone to a city-

Caleb: It's been a long time.

Greg: Really?

Caleb: Yes.

Greg: In what city?

Caleb: Well, my hometown.

Greg: Oh, the little, tiny town. Which is awesome. I also have been to city council meetings, and it was in the town I grew up in, which is Mount Lake Terrace, Washington, just north of Seattle, Washington. The people who attend city council meetings are the worst people on the planet. Well, all of them.

Caleb: Or are they the best?

Greg: They could be the best because here's the thing I'm thinking about. I hadn't even thought about this idea that you just brought up of making the check register for the city public. The people that showed up at the Mount Lake Terrace, Washington city council meetings, they would look through every God Damn check-in that check register. And they would call the companies that they were made out to, to make sure that the checks were received and cashed in a timely manner. That's the kind of folks who show up for city council meeting.

Like you said, possibly the best people, but also I don't understand the amount of time or the motivation that makes these people do what they do. But they're very passionate about whatever brings them to the meeting. So I think that's a great idea in terms of transparency. And again, when we talk about ethics, we say anything you can do to make your job more transparent, you're making things better for everybody, including yourself.

Caleb: Yep. All right, cool. Just a couple of more things. Greg, you were talking about like just basic separation of duties. You're in a position where that's not possible. In the Dixon situation, it wasn't possible until someone else new came in and said, "No, we are going to have separation of duties. So if people are in a situation like this, what do they do? When you can't separate duties, what's your next course of action?

Greg: I don't think that there's a lot of... I mean, like I said, I already gave away my biggest secret is that the one... There's three things that different people are supposed to do. Any physical assets, that's one person's job like the checks. Like I'm printing checks, that's one person's job. Signing checks is another person's job. Reconciling a bank account, that's supposed to be a third person's job. The one thing that's super easy to separate is the authorization side. Someone other than Rita should have been signing those checks. So when you say you can't separate duties, I would actually go and say, "Yeah, you can do that part." You can separate authorization. And any organization can do that. It's going to be a little bit or cumbersome, but only slightly than reassigning the check that she just printed out herself. So I think-

Caleb: Yeah. No, that makes perfect sense. It is. You can be like, look, you don't know anything about accounting, but you're going to approve every check that gets got. And somebody would be like, "Okay." I mean, yeah.

Greg: And that person should also be able to say, you say, and if you've got questions, you've got the authority to say, "Now, what's this check for." And again, it's not foolproof, but it's going to help. And really, even if one of your council members was responsible for printing the checks, somebody could blow them into the accounting software, and then you have one council member who has the checks in a safe or in a locked drawer. And then part of their part-time duties is printing the checks and taking them to the person who's authorizing them. I mean, you can do it. It's doable. It's maybe not easy. And again, you're fighting against financial and accounting, illiteracy. People are not sophisticated in those areas. But it's not like you can't train it. You can train it.

Caleb: Yep. So another question. Can you ask your independent auditors to just beat you up on an audit? I mean, am I talking about physical? No. Can you just go to your auditor and like, say, "Look, we don't have a lot of right here." So look close. Don't go easy on us. Can you do that?

Greg: You can, but they're already supposed to do that. That's what pisses me off about Clifton Larson Allen in this whole thing. Because one of the things you're supposed to do at the beginning of an audit is you're supposed to get everybody together and brainstorm how the company might have perpetrated fraud in the audit that you're about to do. And if it's like, hey, we got one lady in Dixon, Illinois that writes the checks, sign the checks, and reconciles the bank accounts, that's probably a place that somebody could perpetrate some fraud perchance. So it's not asking the auditors to do it, they're' supposed to do it already. That's the job.

Caleb: That's the job of auditors.

Greg: Who's with me?

Caleb: My hand is raised. You can't see it, but my hand is raised. I'm with you. I think we'll end up talking more about auditors in the future.

Greg: But here's another way to look at it too. When you're talking even Starbucks stuff, you've got your audit committee, and that's another thing that you probably should... Audit committee-type responsibilities should have not been with Rita because she was the main liaison between the city and Clifton Gunderson. That liaison should have been the mayor who he goes, and he says, "Hey, I'm hiring you, not Rita. Is Rita doing what she's supposed? You need to just double-check that Rita's not screwing us."

Caleb: Right. Well, Mr. Mayor, she was our starting shortstop for about seven seasons in the mid to late '80s. And she did a fine job for us. Anyway. Okay. Now, last question. About Rita. She served nine years. That's less than half of her sentence. Has justice been served, Greg Kyte?

Greg: I mean, we're talking very philosophical question hereof, what is justice? Anyway.

Caleb: Yeah. What is justice? I don't know. I mean, I've got opinions about prison reform, but in this particular instance, Greg Kyte, if a person who perpetrated a $54 million fraud put a small city in dire straits in all kinds of ways, everything from infrastructure to law enforcement, to you name it, she serves less than half of her sentence, which is still not nothing, I'd have to say. Nine years. I mean, in this case, is justice served?

Greg: I'd have to say no. Here's how my brain is trying to wrap itself around justice here is I go, "If you stole a bunch of money from someone, justice is served as if the victim is made a whole. So she took $53 million from the city. What was it? About 50 was recovered, but you also have to say there was incidental expenses. For instance, like we were saying, the city had to borrow that $54 million over those 20 years.

So there was a lot of interest that was also lost from the city. I mean, even if you'd look at just the basic dollars before feeding the horses, even you go, the city was about $3 million worse off at the end of this. So no, justice wasn't served there. But then you go, okay, how much of that $3 million was just taken out of her hide in nine years of jail time. And that's pretty difficult to quantify. And you go, "Okay, she was not a young lady when she went to jail. Wasn't she pushing 70 when she went to jail?"

Caleb: She was pushing 60. I think she's about 60 years old.

Greg: Okay. So she's pushing 70 now?

Caleb: She's pushing 70 now. Yeah.

Greg: Okay. And with that, part of her appeal to get out, to have her sentence reduced, had to do with her waning health as an elderly person. But at the same time, I know a lot of very health 70-year olds. So I'm going to say no, justice was not served. She should still be in jail. What are your thoughts? Do you feel like justice was served?

Caleb: I mean, I think you make a really excellent point on the restitution. I think someone who's better at numbers than me could really find out where Dixon, how much they really lost out on because it is more than just the 54 million. You're right. They were borrowing money throughout the entire scheme in order to finance the stuff that they could. And so I didn't get the sense from anything that I saw that that was figured into the government or the judges. Again, I don't recall exactly the why the restitution was just double what was stolen. Maybe that was how it made up for it. But that sense-

Greg: But Caleb, if she did pay the $107 million, that was-

Caleb: Which is not.

Greg: ... Charged against her, there's no way she can. But if she did, then I'd go, yeah, justice would've been more than served. It would've been super justice. If she did $107 million. It would've been so just that Superman would've blushed at the end of that by the amount of justice that was served. But obviously, that's a ridiculous amount of money, and there's no way that she's ever going to pay that off.

Caleb: Yeah. And this may not be a popular opinion, but I just have a hard time seeing how keeping someone in prison for a nonviolent crime until they're in the ground, I have a hard time rationalizing why that is a good outcome for our society as a whole.

Greg: Right. Instead of putting her in prison, just make sure that every time she's seen in public, if she passes a citizen, that citizen has to go, "Boo." And then that's a pretty good punishment.

Caleb: They could do the old Larry David where they make her walk out in front of city hall with a sandwich board. I don't know. I don't know if that's, again, humiliation. Is that where our criminal justice systems should go? I don't know. But anyway, I think for a small municipality, it had an enormous impact on the citizens. They're still recovering from it. And so in that regard, I can easily make for a case that this is a disappointing result for all those people. No doubt about it.

Greg: No, I think it clearly was.

Caleb: All right, that's it for this episode. Greg, where can people find you out there in the internet land? Where are you hanging out?

Greg: Out in internet land, I mean, it's funny, the easiest way to find me is just Google Greg Kyte, where the last name is K-Y-T-E. And there's me and like a firefighter in Mississippi. And that's it. So disregard anything firefighter-related, and you'll find me. Twitter, I'm @gregkyte. Instagram, I'm @exposuredrafts for my cartoons. Caleb, where can people get ahold of you if they'd like to?

Caleb: They can find me on Twitter @cnewquist, LinkedIn, Caleb Newquist. And I don't know, I don't really hang out on the internet. Not there.

Greg: Right on. Yeah. Good. Good, good.

Caleb: Oh My Fraud is written by me, Caleb Newquist and Greg Kyte. Sound design, editing, and mixing by Blake Oliver. Be sure to subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen. Join us next time for more average swindlers and scams from stories that will make you say, "Oh My Fraud."

Creators and Guests

Caleb Newquist
Caleb Newquist
Writer l Content at @GustoHQ | Co-host @ohmyfraud | Founding editor @going_concern | Former @CCDedu prof | @JeffSymphony board member | Trying to pay attention.
Greg Kyte, CPA
Greg Kyte, CPA
Mega-pastor of @comedychurch and the de facto worlds greatest accounting cartoonist.
Don't Look a Fraud Horse in the Mouth | The Case of Dixon, Illinois
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