Judge will allow sale of certain Crundwell Horses

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ROCKFORD – Several of former Dixon Comptroller Rita A. Crundwell’s properties and a luxury motor home may soon be on the market, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

Judge Philip G. Reinhard granted an agreed motion between federal prosecutors and Crundwell to sell her properties at 1679 U.S. Route 52, Dixon; 1556 Red Brick Road, Dixon; 1403 Dutch Road, Dixon; 80 acres of land in Lee County; and 821 E. Fifth St., in Englewood, Fla.

A $2.1 million 2009 Liberty Coach motor home also will be sold.

In an order filed Wednesday, Reinhard directed the U.S. Marshals Service to sell the items and place the proceeds into the Marshals Seized Assets Deposit Fund until Crundwell’s criminal case is resolved.

Those properties, along with nearly 400 horses nationwide, were taken over by the Marshals Service following Crundwell’s April 17 arrest at City Hall.

Crundwell, 59, is free on a $4,500 recognizance bond and charged with one count of wire fraud, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors say Crundwell misappropriated more than $53 million in taxpayer money over two decades to pay for her horse operations and her “lavish lifestyle.”

In two motions filed late Friday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Pedersen wrote that prosecutors want to sell the assets because “financial responsibilities relating to the subject properties are burdensome and the defendant does not have the means to meet the obligations.”

Pedersen wrote in the motions that Crundwell and her attorneys agree to the sale, although in doing so Crundwell is not admitting guilt.

Reinhard’s order will allow marshals to secure the property to prepare them for sale, as well as “assume any leases pertaining to the crops and farmland” at the Dutch Road and Lee County properties.

Marshals can deduct costs from the proceeds that are related to the sale and maintenance of the properties, Reinhard ordered.

Marshals Service spokeswoman Lynzey Donahue said Tuesday that once the judge approves prosecutors’ request to sell the property, an appraisal will be done.

From there, the agency will decide the best way to sell the property, whether it’s by auction, sealed bids, or sale by a broker under contract, Donahue said.