CHICAGO (AP) — The animals seized from a renowned horse breeder accused of using her day job as a city bookkeeper to steal millions in public funds have telling names: Jewels by Tiffany, Have Faith in Money.
Rita Crundwell lavished attention on her prize-winning animals, and their catchy names helped them stand out at show exhibitions. They might also reveal something about the woman prosecutors say was behind a staggering theft of $53 million from the city of Dixon in northern Illinois, or at least about the flashy breeding industry she loved.
More than 300 of her horses, among the most sought-after in the country, were handed over to U.S. marshals through a judge's forfeiture order on Thursday.
Jim Bret Campbell, a spokesman for the American Quarter Horse Association, cautioned not to read too much into the animals' names — among them, Packin Jewels, Sum for Me, Botox N Leather and I Found a Penny — and noted that Crundwell likely would only have chosen the names of the horses she bred, not those she purchased.
"The other thing that probably is pertinent is that many of our horses' names are generated by their pedigree, so the names of their sire and dam — their father and mother — contribute," Campbell said Friday.
"We had a very famous racing stallion named Dash for Cash, so we have a lot of horses that either have dash in their name or cash in their name. It's almost a way for breeders to signify that relationship to a famous horse."
The U.S. Marshalls Service plans to hire professionals to care for the horses with an eye toward selling them as part of any eventual restitution to the city of Dixon.
Crundwell's lawyer, Paul Gaziano, has refused to comment publicly on the case, citing rules of the federal defender program.