More than 300 quarter horses have been handed over to the US Marshals Service in the case of Rita Crundwell, accused of siphoning off $US53 million from the coffers of a small Illinois city.
Federal authorities allege Crundwell, the financial controller of Dixon, a city of about 16,000 people, took the money over a 22-year period to fund her quarter horse breeding operation and maintain a lavish lifestyle.
On Thursday, a judge gave the go-ahead for the US Marshals Service to seize 310 horses, which may, if the charge of wire fraud against Crundwell is proved, be sold to recover funds on behalf of the city.
The horses have been in the care of Crundwell’s employees since her April 17 arrest and are understood to be at several locations across the US.
The horses will be cared for by experienced horse handlers paid by the state, and their training will be maintained to ensure they hold their value before any upcoming sale, it has been reported.
Crundwell is due back in court Monday to be arraigned on the one count of wire fraud.