Rita Crundwell stole more than $53 million of public funds across two decades in office as the City Comptroller and Treasurer for Dixon, Illinois––a town with a population of just 16,000. She used the money to build one of the nation’s leading quarter horse breeding empires and fuel her lavish lifestyle, all while forcing city staff cuts, police budget slashing, and neglect of public infrastructure. In 2012, after a close colleague-turned-whistleblower finally uncovered her scheme and alerted the Mayor, the FBI arrested Crundwell as the largest municipal fraud perpetrator in American history.
How did Rita Crundwell steal over $37,000 each day from a town with an annual budget of around $6 million? How could such embezzlement go undetected in annual audits by two independent accounting firms and in annual audit reviews by state regulators? How did local residents not become suspicious of Crundwell’s extravagant wealth and frivolous spending?
The film is the debut feature of director Kelly Richmond Pope, Ph.D., CPA, an associate professor in the School of Accountancy and MIS at DePaul University and founder of Helios Digital Learning. Pope’s work and research across her academic and professional careers has centered around fraud, and her first educational documentary, Crossing the Line: Ordinary People Committing Extraordinary Crimes, has won numerous national education innovation awards and is used in colleges, universities, and corporations throughout the country.
All the Queen’s Horses is the riveting story of how a pillar of the community could so callously execute a scam of such magnitude. This film reveals the procedures behind how she did it and got away with it for so long, how she was caught, how the city is attempting to rebuild and recover, and how if it happened in Dixon, it could happen anywhere.