Quarter horse breeder Rita Crundwell, alleged to have siphoned more than $US53 million from the coffers of a small Illinois city, now faces 60 felony theft counts in the case.
Crundwell, 59, is alleged to have taken the money over a 22-year period while working as the financial controller for Dixon, a city of about 16,000 people.
Federal authorities allege Crundwell used the cash to fund a lavish lifestyle and support her substantial quarter horse breeding operation.
The US Marshals Service are going through the process of selling about 400 horses seized from Crundwell. The first 80 horses have sold for $US1.64 million.
Federal authorities have charged her with one count of wire fraud in April, which Crundwell denies.
However, on Thursday, she was indicted on 60 felony theft counts linked to her alleged offending.
The new charges were returned by a Lee County grand jury.
Each count accuses her of stealing more than $US100,000 in government property from January 2010 until April this year.
Local prosecutors are focusing their efforts on Crundwell’s transactions since 2010, leaving earlier alleged offending to federal authorities, who have seized many of her substantial assets.
These include seven trucks and trailers, three pickup trucks, a motor home that authorities had hoped to sell for more than $US1 million, and a Ford Thunderbird convertible.
It is alleged all were bought with money taken from Dixon.
Authorities were given approval to sell the assets alongside the wire fraud proceedings against Crundwell.
Lee County State’s Attorney Henry Dixon announced the new charges against Crundwell at a news conference at Dixon City Hall. They each carry a potential sentence of up to 30 years in jail.
Crundwell was among the top quarter horse breeders in the United States. Her ranch produced 52 world champions.