Horse News

Crundwell Horses, Equipment Fetch more than $4 million

by: Pat Raia of

“The care of the horses have been costing about $200,000 a month…”

Horses, tack, trailers, and other equipment belonging to indicted Quarter Horse breeder Rita Crundwell brought more than $4 million during a two-day live auction in Dixon, Ill.

Earlier this year, a federal grand jury in Illinois indicted Crundwell for allegedly misappropriating $53 million in funds from the town of Dixon, Ill., where she had served as comptroller since the 1980s. Federal law enforcement agents later arrested Crundwell and charged her with one count of wire fraud, to which Crundwell later pleaded not guilty. If convicted, Crundwell could face maximum penalties of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or an alternate fine totaling twice the cost of the loss or twice the gain, whichever is greater.

Following the arrest, a federal court judge placed more than 400 horses connected to the case in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. Professional Auction Services Inc. was later hired to carry out the sale of the horses and related equipment at auction. Earlier this month an online auction of 80 Crundwell horses realized $1.6 million.

On Sept. 23 and 24, another 400 horses along tack, trailers, and other equipment were sold during a live auction at Crundwell’s farm in Dixon. U.S. Marshal’s Service Spokesperson Lynzey Donahue said that proceeds from the sale of the horses totaled $3,797,300. In addition, frozen semen proceeds totaled $98,500, and tack and equipment sales totaled $892,945. Meanwhile, Crundwell’s luxury motor brought $800,000 in an online auction that ended on Sept. 25.

Donahue said that net proceeds from the sales will be placed in escrow while Crundwell’s case is pending. If Crundwell is convicted the proceeds from the sales will be given to the City of Dixon, Ill., as restitution, she said.

Dixon Mayor Jim Burke said that the $4.7 million derived from the live auction represents about 5% of the revenue the city lost though Crundwell’s alleged misappropriation. Just how much of the auction proceeds Dixon will realize is uncertain.

“The people of Dixon expected that there would be some restitution,” Burke said. “The care of the horses have been costing (the federal government) about $200,000 a month, so we don’t know what the City will get on the horse sales.”

As the Crundwell case continues, the auction of other assets is pending, Burke said. In the meantime, morale among Dixon residents is high, he said.

“It’s a complicated case, but most people who care about the community are looking ahead, and not at the past,” said Burke.

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6 replies »

  1. I think that somebody inflated the price to keep the horses cared for..maybe not. Too bad that the mustangs don’t get the same care.


  2. This is a dispicable woman and should be sent to jail for the rest of her life. She abused the city she worked for, living high on the hog, and used the funds to make more money raising the horses and having expensive equipment and homes. She has to be brought to justice for her dasterly deeds. I hope all the horses found good homes and will not end up like so many others — on a trailer heading to Canada and Mexico. Both countries should be ashamed of themselves for doing what they do to these beautiful animals. May both countries regret what they have been doing to our beautiful animals God has given us.


  3. Does it ever end….lies, corruption and deceiving the public?! Hopefully she will pay the price, but how about the cost and lives of the innocent? Let’s hope these beautiful animals will be safe and not pay with their lives, for her selfish and irresponsible behavior.


  4. Was the whole town government asleep at the wheel all these years? Didn’t anyone wonder just where she was getting the money for her property, the nice ranch she had, her new cars? I have a good idea the mayor had made visits to her home along other members of the city council. They all knew how much her salary was so why didn’t any of them start asking questions? Unless of course they just didn’t want to know.


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