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Properties of convicted ex-comptroller to be sold for more than $3 million

Published: Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013 9:11 a.m. CDT

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(MCT) — CHICAGO — The sale of a horse ranch, farmland and a house that all once belonged to the convicted former treasurer of Dixon, Ill., are poised to be sold for more than $3 million, federal officials said Wednesday.

Once the sale of the three properties is completed, the U.S. Marshals Service will have raised about $11 million as part of an effort to recoup some of the massive losses suffered at the hands of Rita Crundwell, Dixon’s longtime comptroller and treasurer. She pleaded guilty in November to stealing more than $53 million from the small northwestern Illinois town over 22 years.

Authorities said she spent the money on a lavish lifestyle and her champion horse-breeding business that operated largely out of the 88-acre ranch in Dixon. That property as well as 81 acres of farmland in Lee County and a single family residence on a 43-acre plot of land in Dixon initially netted a combined $1.69 million in unsolicited bids this fall. The offers rose to more than $3 million after interested buyers were allowed to submit counteroffers through Dec. 21.

Jason Wojdylo, chief inspector for the Marshals Service, would not release the identities of the separate buyers for the three properties because the sales are not completed. Closings on all three properties are expected in 30 to 45 days. Marshals are requiring buyers to pay closing costs in addition to more than $21,000 in property taxes.

The marshals have already collected about $8 million from the sale of Crundwell’s 400 horses, personal property, a luxury motor home and other vehicles.

Dixon will recoup money from the sale of Crundwell’s assets once the marshals and other lien holders have been paid what they are owed.

“We said early on what our objectives in this case were and that was to generate the greatest revenue for the victims of the crime as we possibly could,” Wojdylo said.

Two more properties remain to be sold. Marshals recently received an unsolicited bid of $350,000 on Crundwell’s main residence in Dixon that sits on about six acres of land. They will hold three open houses on the property this month and will accept bids until Jan. 25. Crundwell also owned a home in Florida.

Marshals also still plan to sell Crundwell’s jewelry this winter as well as several additional vehicles.

Crundwell is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 14 for her federal wire fraud conviction. She faces up to 20 years in prison. She also still faces 60 counts of felony theft in Lee County.

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