Hopes are high that some of the horses will go for six figures, especially since the horses up for sale come from a history of champions.
“This case is remarkable, it’s quite frankly unprecedented,” said chief inspector for the US Marshal Services Jason Wojdylo.
It’s the biggest Seizure Wojdylo has ever managed. “We’re dealing with world champions here, were dealing with a lead breeder in the quarter horse industry,” said Wojdylo. “And I think there’s something to be had with these horses.”
Rita Crundwell was arrested for wire fraud and accused of stealing more than 53-million dollars while she worked as comptroller for the city of Dixon. Now, the US Marshal Services is hoping to get some of that money back by selling off 400 horses and 5 properties.
“Our objectives are to maximize the return on all the horses,” said Wojdylo.
The horses are spread across 13 states on 22 farms and people in Dixon want them all sold.
“I would like to see everything go,” said Martha Martinez.
One look at the hundreds of trophies in Crundwell’s trophy room on her Dixon ranch shows how influence she has had in the quarter horse industry.
“The trophies and the trophy room as well as the sheer volume of horses speak to the value of the heard that we have,” said Wojdylo.
The auction is drawing international attention and has Dixon’s mayor hoping for a decent return.
“I’m hoping that we can recover a substantial amount of money,” said Dixon mayor Jim Burke.
Mayor Burke says he found out about what Crundwell is accused of doing five months before her arrest, a secret that kept him up at night.
“I’d wake up thinking about it,” said Burke. “And one time I remember thinking ‘is this really happening?'”
With an auction date now set, and the US Marshal Services hoping to recover as much of the city’s money as they can, Mayor Burke is just left wondering how someone who seemed so trusting could trick such a close nit town to fund her lavish lifestyle.
“What I would wonder about is how anybody could do that, knowing that city money was paying for all that,” said Burke.
The multi-day live auction will be held on September 23rd and 24th at Crundwell’s ranch located at 1556 Red Brick Road in Dixon. There will also be an online sale on September 11th and 12th.