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Feds want ex-Dixon comptroller's horses

Tuesday, May 01, 2012
This Nov. 2011 photo provided on April 18, 2012, by The American Quarter Horse Journal, shows Rita Crundwell, of Dixon, Ill., posing with Pizzazzy Lady at the 2011 American Quarter Horse Association World Championship Show in Oklahoma City. On Tuesday, April 17, 2012, FBI agents arrested Crundwell, the Dixon comptroller, on charges that she stole more than $3.2 million in public funds from the city of Dixon in just a matter of months. She also was accused of misappropriating more than $30 million since 2006 to finance a lavish lifestyle, including operating a horse farm.

This Nov. 2011 photo provided on April 18, 2012, by The American Quarter Horse Journal, shows Rita Crundwell, of Dixon, Ill., posing with Pizzazzy Lady at the 2011 American Quarter Horse Association World Championship Show in Oklahoma City. On Tuesday, April 17, 2012, FBI agents arrested Crundwell, the Dixon comptroller, on charges that she stole more than $3.2 million in public funds from the city of Dixon in just a matter of months. She also was accused of misappropriating more than $30 million since 2006 to finance a lavish lifestyle, including operating a horse farm. (AP Photo/The American Quarter Horse Journal)

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The amount of money Rita Crundwell allegedly stole from the tiny town of Dixon has reached $53 million, according to officials.

Crundwell, 59, was indicted on criminal charges Tuesday, the same day the federal government filed a civil lawsuit to take control of her 311 horses.

Crundwell allegedly stole more than $53 million from the tiny town since 1990. She allegedly used the proceeds to run her horse farm and maintain a lavish lifestyle. On Tuesday, a federal grand jury indicted Crundwell, who is out on her recognizance, on one count of mail fraud. She will be in court on May 7 in Rockford.

In the civil lawsuit, the United States alleges that 311 quarter horses owned by Crundwell are subject to civil forfeiture because she purchased and/or maintained them with criminal fraud proceeds. The government will seek eventually to sell the horses and apply the proceeds toward restitution to the City of Dixon.

Crundwell owns RC Quarter Horses, LLC, and has a horse ranch in Dixon and one in Beloit, Wis. Dozens of foals are expected this spring. The government requested a pretrial restraining order so that it can take care of the animals and the U.S. Marshals Service is expected to hire a contractor to care for the horses.

Story: Crundwell's horses called 'Packin Jewels', 'Have Faith in Money'

The indictment also seeks forfeiture of two residences in Dixon, a home in Florida, a $2.1 million luxury motor home, more than a dozen vehicles and $224,898 in cash from two bank accounts.

Crundwell allegedly used her role as the town's comptroller to transfer funds from Dixon's accounts to her own by creating fictitious invoices. She told the mayor and city council that the state was late in paying the city to cover-up the scheme, according to the government.

The town of 15,733 is located about 100 miles southwest of Chicago.

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