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Could be months before Dixon sees asset sales

ROCKFORD – It could be several months before Dixon realizes about $10 million from the sale of Rita Crundwell's assets, federal officials said Thursday.

Now that she's been sentenced, federal officials will be taking the next steps needed to pay the city some of the nearly $54 million it is owed in restitution.

Jason Wojdylo, chief inspector for the U.S. Marshals Service asset forfeiture division, said $10.5 million raised from the sales is in an escrow account, and two contracts worth a total of $1 million for two of her Dixon properties are waiting to be finalized.

Her vacation home in Englewood, Fla., has received four offers, but each was lower than the asking price and was rejected. If an offer is not accepted in 2 weeks, Wojdylo said marshals could seek the services of a real estate agent.

Her jewelry, worth an estimated $500,000, will be sold in an online auction on Feb. 23.  

But "the vast majority" of her assets have been sold, Wojdylo said.

The total value of her assets could reach around $12.3 million, he said, minus $1.7 million in expenses the marshals have incurred, mostly caring for her horses, and about $1.1 million in claims, such as liens from those who cared for Crundwell's horses before her arrest, that must be paid from the proceeds.

With Crundwell's conviction and sentencing, she has forfeited all rights, titles and interest in all assets already identified as being bought with stolen money.

Prosecutors also are seeking other assets, including a trust fund, more than $2,000 returned to her when she cancelled the insurance on her properties, and the remaining balance in the RSCDA and RC Quarter Horses bank accounts.

She also will hand over contributions to her pension fund, about $73,000, a 401(k)-type account, and the notes on loans she made to two city officials, the amounts of which have not yet been made public.

U.S. District Judge Philip Reinhard granted the prosecution's motion for a preliminary order of forfeiture Thursday. That means the marshals now must send notice to anyone who may have "an ownership interest" in the forfeited assets and allow them to file a claim, Wojdylo said. 

According to the motion, possible claimants include Crundwell's longtime boyfriend, Jim McKillips, several of her family members, and treasurers' offices in Lee County and Charlotte County in Florida, where she owns property. 

Once given notice, they have 30 days to file a claim. Marshals also will advertise the assets for 3 weeks in newspapers and online, after which potential claimants again have 30 days from the last publication date to file a claim.

Once the claims are resolved, the judge will issue a final forfeiture order and officials can apply to the attorney general's office to release the funds.

There is no way to know how many claimants may step forward, which makes it hard to determine when Dixon could see restitution, Wojdylo told reporters after the hearing.

"What I can say is that we are still in the process of evaluating assets that we are aware of," Wojdylo said. "If any asset is identified, based on court order (Thursday), we will pursue it. There is a process to follow."

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