Preliminary total from 2-day Crundwell auction: $4.78 million

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DIXON, Ill. — A two-day auction of property owned by former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell raised an estimated $4.78 million, a representative of the U.S. Marshals Service reported late Monday.

According to Lynzey Donahue of the Office of Public Affairs, the preliminary total for the Sunday-Monday sale at Crundwell’s ranch included the sale of horses, horse-related equipment, tack, vehicles and trailers.

The first horse in a 400-horse herd to be auctioned live Sunday sold for $775,000.

The prized stallion, Good I Will Be, was expected to fetch between $250,000 and $1 million, said marshals service chief inspector Jason Wojdylo.

“We certainly got closer to the million, and I think that set the tone,” he said.

The sale drew more than 2,000 people on Sunday.

The 59-year-old Crundwell is accused of directing $53 million in city money to a secret fund over two decades. Officials say the money was used to finance Crundwell’s world-renowned horse-breeding operation, several homes, luxury vehicles, jewelry and the sprawling horse ranch on Dixon’s Red Brick Road. She is free on a recognizance bond but officially remains in federal custody.

Noted at–day-crundwell-auction-million/article_917b36ce-06cc-11e2-843d-001a4bcf887a.html

From someone who knew Rita Crundwell

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PRINCETON — Gary and Julia Yaklich of Princeton have been horse enthusiasts for years. They clearly know the horse business, and they also know Rita Crundwell. The Yaklich couple have raised and shown their horses — many times in the same show ring as Crundwell.

Gary and Julia attended the recent auction of Crundwell’s horses and property in Dixon, hoping to buy at least one of Crundwell’s broodmares, however, the couple came home empty-handed. Gary chatted with the Bureau County Republican about his thoughts on the auction, the horses and the Crundwell situation. Following are the BCR’s questions and Gary’s answers:

BCR: How did you know Rita Crundwell?

Yaklich: I’ve probably known Rita since the early ‘80s. When you show horses, you come in contact with the same circle of people. When we showed more, we would show with/against her mostly in Illinois and Wisconsin. We attended her past production sales and visited the ranches over the years.

BCR: Why did you want a Crundwell horse?

Yaklich: Rita was able to develop one of the top broodmare bands in the country. She then either raised or bought studs that crossed well on these mares. She had about 200 mares and over 10 studs, so she would try different crosses to perfect the desired traits or abilities necessary to win at the highest level. Everyone was aware of the crosses that worked the best, so they were the ones most sought after by the horse show industry. This was the opportunity to capitalize on the proven breeding program and carry on what was started in Dixon. On Sunday and Monday, I bid on several of the mares in the sale, however, the bids on the mares I liked shot up past my limit.

BCR: Did you think the prices were fair?

Yaklich: The top sellers were all horses that will have an impact on the quarter horse industry for decades. So, given their future in both the show ring and in breeding programs, the top sellers were definitely worth the money. There were also average horses that would be competitive on the local level, and this was reflected in the prices they brought. There were really only a few “off bred” horses in the sale, and they, of course, were on the low end of the price range. Actually there were horses sold suited for all levels of competition with sales prices to match.

By Questions compiled by Terri Simon and Barb Kromphardt –
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Rita Crundwell Halter Horse Sale

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A great article from

A smaller but still enthusiastic crowdgathered September 24 for the final day of the sale of horses that formerly belonged toRita Crundwell of Dixon, Illinois.

Execute, a three-time AQHA world champion, brought the highest bid, with Tom Scheckel of Bellevue, Iowa, purchasing the 2004 sorrel stallion by Mr Touchdown Kid-Forever Coolest by Coolest for $245,000.

Tom said he likely will stand Execute at Iowa State University, which currently stands Kids Classic Style, Tom’s other stallion.

Many of the bidders in the audience had driven over for the day from the Breeders Halter Futurity and National Championship Show, where they had spent the weekend, but a large number of bidders watched and purchased horses online at the sale organized by Professional Auction Services Inc.

The court-ordered sale began at 10 a.m. with items such as portable coolers and muck buckets going first, followed by fencing and other farm equipment. Trucks and trailers were sold before the first horse entered the sale ring. Bidding continued for more than 10 hours.

Notable horses sold September 24:

Execute — $245,000
Lookin For Romance — $60,000
Sacreds Executionist — $50,000
Bob Bob Barann — $40,000
Mr Touchdown Kid, $36,000
Acoolest — $31,000


How did she do it? – Rita Crundwell

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From Chicago Magazine.  Full article can be found here
It was time. The three men, in standard-issue FBI suits and ties, arrived

at Dixon City Hall just after nine on the morning of Tuesday, April 17. They chatted breezily with Jim Burke, the mild-mannered, silver-haired mayor, who smiled and nodded from behind a cluttered desk in his office on the second floor. But for the badges tucked into the men’s wallets and the guns holstered on their belts, the gathering might have looked like a few insurance salesmen debating weekend tee times.

As the small talk petered out, however, a chill settled over the room. Burke looked up at the men. “Are we ready?” he asked.

The lead agent, Patrick Garry, nodded. “Yes. Let’s bring her in.”

Burke reached for the phone and punched in the number for the comptroller. “Rita, would you mind stepping into my office for a minute?”

“Sure,” Rita Crundwell answered brightly.

For five long months—ever since Dixon’s city clerk, Kathe Swanson, had stumbled upon a curious bank statement from an even more curious bank account—Burke had been helping the feds unravel an embezzlement scheme so vast and so brazen it seemed almost inconceivable. Tens of millions of dollars had been siphoned from the tiny rural city’s operating budget. The money was being dumped into a mysterious account and allegedly spent on everything but city business: jewelry, fancy clothes, a custom motor coach, boats, property in Florida, luxury cars, hundreds of the finest horses this side of Amarillo. And that was only what the feds had found in their cursory first look at the city’s cooked books.

Most stunning of all was the identity of the person suspected of masterminding the scheme: Rita Crundwell, a woman whose parents were the kind of humble, hardworking community pillars upon which Dixon’s reputation was built, a woman who had been the town’s comptroller for more than three decades, as trusted and efficient as a church tithe collector.

It was Burke who had taken the dubious bank statement to the FBI office in Rockford back in October 2011. Agents instructed him to hold his tongue while they investigated. As the months passed, he woke often in the night. Was this really happening?

The mayor’s thoughts turned to Crundwell’s hobby. Everyone in town knew that Crundwell, 59, who is divorced and has no children, owned and showed horses. The local paper reported on various championships she won, honors that bestowed a measure of pride on the city.

But very few in Dixon had the faintest idea of the operation Crundwell was running or of the magnitude of the double life she was leading. By day, she was a modest municipal worker with a high-school education; by night, she was a diamond-bedazzled high roller, the doyenne of a world that was a million miles in glamour and several million dollars in wealth from the cornfields and cattle farms of Illinois.

Week after week, Burke would pass Crundwell in the upstairs offices—a warren of cubicles with pile carpeting and cheap wood paneling—and pretend that nothing was wrong, trading “good mornings” with the woman he’d been told was robbing the city blind and smiling as she did. Week after week, Swanson, the city clerk who had flagged the telltale bank statement, swallowed her disgust as she watched the coworker she had once considered a friend breezing around the building.

Now the day of reckoning was at hand.

“Hi,” Crundwell chirped, sticking her head through the door.

“Morning,” Burke said. “Would you mind coming in?”

Garry wasted no time. “I’m with the FBI,” he said, displaying his badge. “We’d like to ask you some questions.”

From his desk, Burke studied Crundwell. If she has an ounce of shame, he thought, it will show on her face. When he saw her expression, the unwavering calm smile, he was stunned. “I was looking right at her,” Burke recalls. “And the look on her face never changed. Absolutely never changed.”

Continued at

From Chicago Magazine.  Full article can be found here

Thousands pour in for Crundwell Auction

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A good article found at

Thousands came out for Day 1 of the horse auction at the Rita Crundwell ranch in Dixon, IL.

Visitors came from California, Arizona, Texas, and even Australia and British Columbia for today’s auction – all hoping to head home with one of the 320 prized horses from Rita Crundwell’s ranch.

“You don’t run into this – it’s once in a lifetime,” says Don Miller, from Elgin, IL. “Under the circumstances of the sale, and the quality of the horses – they are absolutely the best in the world.”

Locals were in attendance as well, waiting to see how much some of the horses would sell.

“I think they are going to go for a lot of money,” says Jacqueline Full. “I’m from Dixon and my money’s involved in it too.”

While there are more than 300 horses up for sale, all eyes were on horse number one. “Good I Will Be” is the crown jewel of Rita Crundwell’s collection.

The horse sold for $775,000 to Sandra Morgan, a horse show person from Langley, British Columbia. Her agent says it was a steal grabbing a horse like this.

“You don’t usually find this everyday,” says Stephen Stephens. “To have one person’s life making here on display and the same individual ‘Good I Will Be.’ The opportunity and the road she has already paved for this horse was just somebody’s great benefit to be able to purchase him.”

“Good I Will Be” will travel to Oklahoma City for the World Show in November. Then he’ll head to his final destination, Weatherfield, Texas, where he will be used as a breeder horse.

For the past five months, the horses have been cared for by U.S. Marshals.

“Certainly never before in my career here have I managed something like this as large as this is,” says Jason Wojdylo, Chief Inspector for the U.S. Marshals. “It’s been unprecedented.”

Maintenance fees were piling up, topping for than $1.3 million for the Marshals to care for the horses. After discussions with Rita Crundwell, it was ordered that the horses be sold while still maintaining top value.

“She has a lot of world champion horses,” says Jennifer Fecht, who cared for the horses while working for Crundwell. “It takes all day to feed and clean their stalls.”

After this auction, marshals will start selling furniture, real estate and other personal property of Crundwell’s.

If Crundwell is found innocent, she will reap all profits from the auction.

Big Sale in dixon for Crundwell Horses

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Dixon’s Big Sale for Crundwell Horses


DIXON, Ill. — Despite a scarce hay crop and higher feed prices, the 400 horses that will be sold in two separate auctions this month are expected to bring top dollar.

“There are not very many world champions usually available for sale at any given time. There are enough people in our industry to really want that type of horse,” said Mike Jennings, co-owner, along with his brother Tim, of Professional Auction Services of Round Hill, Va.

That is good news for those who are hoping to collect reimbursement from the sale of the property belonging to Rita Crundwell, former comptroller for Dixon in Lee County.

In May, Crundwell pleaded not guilty to a single count of wire fraud. Federal prosecutors allege that Crundwell stole some $53 million since 1990 in her position as the city’s comptroller.

Prosecutors say that millions of those allegedly stolen funds went toward building up her horse business, RC Quarter Horses LLC. Crundwell has produced more than 50 world champions in shows sanctioned by the American Quarter Horse Association.

Rita Crundwell faces 60 new state charges

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A great article from
Prosecutors in Illinois hand down dozens of new theft charges for former Dixon Illinois comptroller Rita Crundwell. Today the state indicted Crundwell on 60 theft charges that allegedly took place from January 1st, 2010 through her arrest on April 17th, 2012. These charges are separate from the federal charges that allege Crundwell stole $53 million dollars from the City of Dixon from 1990 through 2010.
The numbers are staggering.
This indictment alleges Rita Crundwell stole more than $11.2 million dollars in less than 2 and half years.
60 charges in all, they read almost like an accountant’s ledger.
$255,000 on January 19th.
$198,000 on January 25th.
$178,000 on January 29th.
On and on the list goes, the last charge filed the day before she was arrested on April 17th of this year. The indictment is separate from federal charges, and the case will be tried completely separately as well.
Dixon Mayor Jim Burke says he looks at this as a backup plan, just in case the federal trial falls flat.
“The way we were pushing this was to get some insurance that if it was a slap on the wrist that there would be more from the state,” says Burke.
The investigators have been working since early July to reach this point, sifting through more than 2,000 pieces of evidence. Between the federal investigation, and the state’s investigation, Lee County State’s Attorney Henry Dixon is confident Rita Crundwell acted alone.
“If you have more than one person involved you’re in deep trouble. And in my view if there had been even one other person involved with Ms. Crundwell in this enterprise, it would have been exposed sometime ago,” says Dixon.
Each of the 60 theft charges facing Crundwell carries a 6 year minimum sentence. If she’s found guilty on every charge she’d face at least 360 years behind bars, plus any punishment she may receive in her federal case.
“You can all multiply 6 times 60 pretty easily. There’s such a thing as a pound of flesh and a pound of flesh,” says Dixon.
Dixon adds they’re not seeking any restitution from Crundwell or her estate because as he put it, ‘The feds took everything. All she has left is her clothes and a few trophies.’
Former Dixon, Illinois comptroller Rita Crundwell faces 60 counts of felony theft after a grand jury indictment was delivered Thursday, September 20, 2012.
A Lee County grand jury handed down the indictment announced by police and prosecutors that same day at a news conference at Dixon City Hall.
The new indictment concerns alleged thefts by Crundwell from January 1, 2010 to April 17, 2012. In each count, Crundwell is accused of taking more than $100,000 worth of government property.
Crundwell previously pleaded not guilty in federal court to a single count of wire fraud. Prosecutors said Crundwell stole $53 million over more than 20 years to fund a lavish lifestyle centered around breeding championship horses.
More about the federal indictment – click here.
Crundwell is not in custody for the new indictment and charges. She was previously released on bond after being taken into federal custody.
If convicted, Crundwell faces a minimum of six years in prison for each charge in the September 20 indictment.

Rita Crundwell Auction In Dixon, IL

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Awesome story at
U.S. Marshals are selling almost all of Rita Crundwell’s property and personal items. More than 2000 people are expected at the auction that takes place on Sunday and Monday in Dixon. Everything that will be sold is coming from Crundwell’s properties in Dixon and Florida.

A court order and an agreement from Rita Crundwell to sell her possessions is why Federal Marshals are able to sell Crundwell’s homes, horses and property. The list of the former Dixon comptroller’s personal items is extensive. Most of the bigger items being sold are related to Crundwell’s horse operation. There are Bobcats, John Deere Tractors, and several horse trailers. Horse equipment such as saddles are also for sale. 300 horses that did not sell at a web auction earlier this month are also on the list.

Federal Marshals are also selling 11 pages of personal items. The list shows benches, tables, bar stools, couches and chairs. There are also 9 televisions, several VCR’s and DVD players, and washers and dryers that are up for grabs. Clothes, 7 fur coats, exercise equipment and art work featuring horses are also on the list.

14 of Crundwell’s cars will be sold; they include a 2012 Chevy Silverado, a Ford Thunderbird, a Lexus, and a Hummer H2.

If Crundwell is found not guilty, she will receive the money back.

More Crundwell Horses to be Sold

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More than 300 horses seized by federal law enforcement authorities in connection with the embezzlement case against Quarter Horse breeder Rita Crundwell will be sold at auction in Dixon, Ill., on Sept. 23 and 24.

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. Crudnwell later pleaded not guilty to the wire fraud charge. 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. U.S. Marshal’s Service Spokesperson Lynzey Donahue said that 80 horses were sold for a total of $1.6 million during an online auction Sept. 7-12.

On Sept. 23 and 24, more than other 300 horses, will be sold during a live auction in Dixon, Ill., Donahue said. The Sept. 23 auction will include performance horses, saddles, and frozen semen. Performance horses, halter horses, and frozen semen will be auctioned on Sept. 24. If Crundwell is convicted, net proceeds from the sale of the horses and equipment will be given to the City of Dixon, Ill., as restitution, Donahue said.

Prospective bidders can preview the horses slated for live auction Sept. 20-22 by appointment through Professional Auction Services, Inc. Complete details about the sale are available at the Professional Auction Services, Inc., website, The site also contains U. S. Marshals Service sales terms and conditions, as well as inventories of halter horses, performance horses, and tack offered for sale. Prospective bidders can also register for the live auction at the website.

80 of Rita Crundwell Horses sell online for 1.64 Million

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Some of the 271 horses on Rita Crundwell’s RC Ranch near Dixon, photographed Friday, Aug. 3, 2012. The U.S. Marshals Service is selling the first 93 of the former comptroller’s herd of quarter horses via an online auction. Crundwell amassed more than 400 horses, which will be sold to recover money she is accused of embezzling from the city of Dixon.