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Auction of indicted Dixon comptroller’s horses makes millions

Updated: September 26, 2012 7:49AM

Federal authorities took in nearly $5 million during a two-day auction this week of horses and items that once belonged to a former Dixon, Ill., comptroller accused of embezzlement.

The animals had belonged to Rita Crundwell, who was a leading breeder of quarter horses. She was indicted for allegedly stealing more than $53 million from the western Illinois city.

The latest auction ­— Sunday and Monday ­— took in about $4.7 million at her ranch, which included 300 of Crundwell’s horses. Overall, $7 million was collected in the auctioning horses, a luxury motor home and other items, which were included in an online auction.

Crundwell’s luxury motor home took more than $800,000 in an online auction that ended Tuesday, federal officials said.

Other pieces of equipment and accessories like saddles, bridles, bits and other items sold for nearly $900,000.

Net proceeds from the sale of Crundwell’s assets will be applied toward restitution to Dixon should the government win its civil and criminal actions, the U.S. Marshals office said.

A federal grand jury indicted the 58-year-old on May 1, alleging one count of wire fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. Crundwell was arrested April 17 for allegedly embezzling more than $30 million since 2006. Since then, officials learned she allegedly stole more than $53 million over at least 20 years, according to prosecutors.

Crundwell had held the position of Dixon comptroller since 1983 and handled all finances for the city, the complaint said. She earned an annual salary of $80,000.

Dixon is about 42 miles southwest of Rockford, with a population of about 15,733.

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