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Feds identify more horses, items to forfeit

Published: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 1:20 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 11:21 a.m. CDT
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(Emily K. Coleman/ecoleman@saukvalley.com)
Sixty of Rita Crundwell's horses are boarded at Meri-J Ranch in Beloit, Wis. The ranch's owner, the Percott Company, filed a motion Tuesday asking to recoup more than $150,000 in costs associated with the care of the horses – assets that are frozen while federal prosecutors pursue a wire fraud charge against Crundwell.

ROCKFORD – Federal prosecutors trying Rita A. Crundwell say they’ve discovered an additional 85 horses and other items they intend to sell if the former Dixon comptroller is convicted of wire fraud, according to documents filed Friday.

On May 1, prosecutors filed a civil lawsuit against Crundwell, in which they say they identified 311 horses scattered across the country that are subject to forfeiture.

However, in an amended lawsuit filed Friday, prosecutors say they have identified 396 quarter horses, 21 embryos, 13 saddles, and frozen stallion semen from eight horses.

Prosecutors have said that if Crundwell is convicted, they intend to sell those items, along with a number of properties, and give the proceeds to Dixon.

Crundwell, 59, misappropriated more than $53 million in taxpayer money over two decades and used it to fund her horse operations and “lavish lifestyle,” according to prosecutors.

On Friday, Magistrate Judge P. Michael Mahoney granted prosecutors’ latest request that Crundwell or any of her associates be barred from selling or doing anything to diminish the value of the horses and properties.

Mahoney also granted a motion to intervene that was filed by Texas horse breeders Brock and Kristi Allen of Allen Equine, and veterinarians A. Barry Wood and Hartman Equine Reproduction Center.

Click here to read the Petition to Intervene

They are asking to recoup more than $150,000 in costs associated with the care of 21 of Crundwell’s horses in Texas.

The Allens did not return calls for comment. Representatives for Hartman Equine Reproduction Center declined comment.

Rockford attorney John Holevas, who is representing the three parties, did not return a call seeking comment.

On Tuesday, the Percott Company, which owns the Beloit, Wis., horse farm which boards 60 of Crundwell’s horses, also filed a motion to intervene in the civil lawsuit.

They also are asking to recoup more than $150,000 in costs.

There has not yet been a ruling on the motion.

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