American Greed Episode 83: The Cunning Cowgirl Crook / Dollars for Dumps

Case File

The cunning cowgirl crook / Dollars for dumps

Small town comptroller steals $53 million from her city to fund an award winning horse-breeding empire. And, a crooked real estate developer lures victims to his phony residential oases.


  • Money laundering can be described as "moving money to disguise what it is" according to FBI agent Douglas Leff and there are simple steps to sniff out these funds.

  • Rita Crundwell's secret bank account

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Pedersen details how Rita Crundwell began stealing millions of dollars from Dixon, Illinois.

  • How Joe Mazella fooled investors

    Joe Mazella used artist renderings that spruced up dilapidated properties to entice clients to spend. He then used their money to fund his sports memorabilia collection.

  • Officials discuss how Dixon suffered

    Rita Crundwell's ever-increasing theft from the City of Dixon's coffers forced the town to make crippling budget decisions.

  • Hear about victims' testimony at Mazella's sentencing

    Joe Mazella calmly sat in the courtroom as victims recounted the pain and distress his fraud had caused in their lives.

  • Joe Mazella says he can make money by turning over distressed properties. But the money he raises doesn’t go into new buildings, it goes into his pocket. View Mazella's money pits.

  • By: Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office

    This chart of Rita Crundwell’s R.S.C.D.A. account shows her deposits and withdrawals by year.

  • By: Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office

    Rita Crundwell stole more than $53 million dollars from Dixon in a 22 year span. See the yearly breakdown.

  • By: Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office

    As the years went on, the amount Crundwell would steal from the city of Dixon dramatically increased. This chart shows Dixon’s average monthly losses, by year.