The gavel falls on the former Dixon comptroller's prized possessions, her horses. Rita Crundwell is accused of stealing $53 million from the city. The auction will help cover the expenses of the U.S. Marshals Service who has been taking control of the animals since they were seized by the government.
Sunday, the auction netted $2.4 million from about 146 horses and other items. Monday, the final figures are not in but by 6 p.m. with the auction still underway $1.6 million was raised.
"We work very hard to recover as much money as we can for victims of crime. It is important that your viewers not focus exclusively on the herd as what is going to be netted out of this case," says Jason Wojdylo, U.S. Marshals Service.
This is actually the second horse auction. An online auction that sold 80 of Crundwell's horses from around the country and brought in $1.6 million.
"Today we have spent a little over $1.3 million managing the herd, we still have the September invoices to come in," says Wojdylo.
The U.S. Marshals say the online auction will probably just about covers their expenses. So all the money the live auction brings in could go back to the City of Dixon.
Crundwell is accused of defrauding Dixon of more than $53 million to support a lavish lifestyle that included breeding and raising national show horses.
"Looking at all these millions of dollars in costs and looking at all that and thinking my lord, this is all with city money that she acquired that stuff. There hasn't been anything new said about what's she's done but stuff like that keeps hitting you," says Dixon Mayor James Burke.
After the U.S. Marshals Service takes its expenses the rest of the money made from the auction goes into an escrow account. If Crundwell is found guilty the money goes to the City of Dixon. Otherwise, it will be returned to her.
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