Public Servants "Serving" Themselves: Occupational Fraud In Government

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Dwayne McSwain PhD, Associate Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:

Abstract: From 1990 to 2012, Rita Crundwell committed the largest municipal embezzlement in U.S. history, stealing more than $53 million from the city of Dixon, Illinois. As city comptroller and treasurer, she secretly opened a bank account in the name of Dixon that only she controlled. Crundwell transferred money from city bank accounts into her illegitimate account, concealing the movement through fictitious invoices she submitted to the city. She used the money to finance a lavish lifestyle that included multiple residences, numerous vehicles, jewelry, and multiple horse-farming operations for her championship show horses. After another city employee accidentally discovered the secret account, Crundwell admitted her guilt and received a 20-year sentence. Crundwell’s fraud was alarming, audacious, and attention-getting — enough to be the subject of television episodes (such as CNBC’s American Greed and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s The Fifth Estate) and a documentary movie (All the Queen’s Horses). However, it was not an isolated event. Occupational fraud in government is such a common occurrence that it should be a major concern to all government organizations and constituents.

Additional Information

Daigle, R., Morris, P., & McSwain, D. (2017). Public Servants "Serving" Themselves: Occupational Fraud In Government. Internal Auditing, September/October 2017. 5-14. NC Docks permission to re-print granted by author(s).
Language: English
Date: 2017
occupational fraud, embezzlement, internal auditing, fraud detection, Rita Crundwell

Email this document to