Feds move to sell breeder’s homes, ranches

Spectators at an earlier auction of Rita Crundwell's horses, gear and equipment.
Spectators at an earlier auction of Rita Crundwell’s horses, gear and equipment. © Shane T. McCoy / US Marshals

The US Marshals Service is seeking offers on three blocks of land owned by well-known quarter horse breeder Rita Crundwell, who this month admitted fraud involving $US53 million.

Crundwell siphoned off the millions over a 22-year period while working as the financial controller for the small Illinois city of Dixon, which has about 16,000 people.

Authorities say Crundwell used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle and her elaborate quarter horse breeding operation.

To date, the Marshals Service has recovered about $US7.4 million from the online and live auctions of about 400 quarter horses, as well as vehicles, trailers, tack and a luxury motor home.

The money will ultimately go to the city by way of restitution.

It is now offering for sale three of five parcels of property owned by Crundwell.

The Marshals said unsolicited offers had already been received for the three properties and it was accepting competing offers until December 21.

Public inspections of the properties will be held on December 7, 8 and 14.

The first two properties are in Dixon.

One is at 1403 Dutch Road and comprises 43 acres and a single-family residence. An offer of $US450,000 has been received.

The other Dixon property is at 1556 Red Brick Road. It comprises 87.82 acres, including two farm buildings. An offer of $US700,000 has been received.

The third block is about 81 acres of farm land in Lee County, Illinois, for which a $US540,000 offer has been received.

Detailed information on the properties, procedures and terms and conditions are available here.

A sales plan on Crundwell’s two additional real estate holdings in Dixon and Englewood, Florida, both residential properties, is pending.

Crundwell, 59, was one of the leading breeders of quarter horses in the US.

She pleaded guilty to a federal fraud charge in US District Court in Northern Illinois on November 14. Crundwell agreed that she owes restitution to the city of Dixon totaling $53,740,394.

Since her arrest on April 17, Crundwell has agreed to the sale of assets that she had acquired with proceeds from her decades-long fraud scheme.

Crundwell will be sentenced on February 14. She faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $US250,000 fine, or a fine totaling the greater of twice the gross gain or loss from her crime.

The government anticipates that the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines range will be 15 years and eight months to 19 years and seven months, while the defense position is that the advisory range is 12 years and seven months to 15 years and eight months.

The plea agreement that saw her plead guilty allows the government and defense attorneys to recommend whatever sentence they deem appropriate.

Crundwell remains at large awaiting sentencing.

Under federal law, the government may continue to seek additional assets of a defendant and obtain restitution for up to 20 years after a defendant is released from prison.




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