Rita Crundwell, former comptroller for Dixon, Ill., leaves federal court in Rockford, Ill., Monday, May 7, 2012, after pleading not guilty at her arraignment to charges that accuse her of stealing tens of millions of dollars from the community. Prosecutors contend that Crundwell had been transferring Dixon's money to a secret account since at 1990 and using the money to create one of the nation's leading horse-breeding operations and buy luxury homes, cars and jewelry. (AP Photo/Robert Ray)
A lawyer for a former northern Illinois comptroller who was convicted of stealing millions from her community is appealing her nearly 20-year sentence.
Attorney Paul Gaziano argues that the U.S. District Court in Rockford abused its discretion when it sentenced Rita Crundwell for wire fraud in February. He says the court didn't do enough to factor in Crundwell's cooperation with investigators.
The Telegraph in Dixon says prosecutors have until Aug. 9 to respond to Gaziano's motion.
Crundwell was convicted of wire fraud after she pleaded guilty to stealing almost $54 million from Dixon over two decades. She stashed the public money in a secret bank account and used the funds to pay for a lavish lifestyle and a horse-breeding operation.
During Crundwell's sentencing, the judge said she showed a greater passion for the welfare of her horses than she did for the people of Dixon.
Crundwell is in a federal prison in Waseka, Minn.