Illinois woman's embezzlement case leads to horse auction

Horses belonging to a woman accused of embezzling more than $53 million from an Illinois city soon will be sold at auction. Rita Crundwell won the last eight top titles at the American Quarter Horse Association's annual championship in Oklahoma City.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Modified: September 20, 2012 at 9:50 pm •  Published: September 21, 2012
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More than 300 seized quarter horses will be sold by the U.S. Marshals Service at a two-day auction set to begin Sunday.

The horses are the remainder of a prized herd once managed by Rita Crundwell, an Illinois woman with Oklahoma City ties who was arrested and charged with embezzlement in April.

Eighty similar high-value horses fetched more than $1.6 million at an online auction earlier this month. Other items to be sold include saddles, bridles, canvas-sided stalls, hay feeders and other equipment.

Crundwell, who won the last eight top titles at the American Quarter Horse Association's annual championship in Oklahoma City, has pleaded not guilty to misappropriating more than $53 million from the city of Dixon, Ill., where she worked as comptroller.

She agreed to allow her horses to be auctioned while the case against her is pending, said Lynzey Donahue, spokeswoman for the U.S. Marshals Service. Proceeds raised at the two auctions will be put into an escrow account until the conclusion of the case.

The auction will take place at Crundwell's ranch in Dixon; a simulcast auction will be held on the Internet. Only the horses will be available for bidding on the Internet auction.

Auctions are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Sunday and Monday. A catalog is available online at www.professionalauction.com.


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