by RMHP Staff
Prosecutors are seeking permission from the court to sell select items owned by Rita Crundwell before there is a resolution in her criminal case. Crundwell is the infamous quarter horse breeder accused of stealing $53 million from her former employer, the City of Dixon, to fund her horse lifestyle.
Five properties are included in the forfeiture motion including a single family residence in Dixon, the "Red Brick Road" horse farm, a second single family residence in Dixon, 80 acres of vacant land in Lee County, and a single family home in Englewood, Florida. Court documents state "the subject properties are burdensome and the defendant does not have the means to meet the obligations."
Rita Crundwell's Englewood, Florida home from Google Street View
The government has asked the court to allow the properties be prepared for sale and sold. "Although the defendant, through her attorneys, does not object to the issuance of the entry of a protective order directing the interlocutory sale of the property as described above, in doing so, defendant is not admitting to the allegations contained in the indictment."
Prosecutors also want to sell Dixon's $2.1 million 2009 Liberty Coach Motor Home they say she purchased with stolen funds. The luxury item currently has a lien of more than $430,000 being held by Bank of America. Prosecutors maintain the quicker the vehicle is sold the more equity will be retained.
$2.1 million buys luxury
All proceeds from any sales, minus certain verifiable costs, will be put into an escrow account and maintained by the Marshals Service pending further action by the court. It is not known when the Judge will rule.
Crundwell has been charged with one count of wire fraud.
What about the horses?
A civil suit was filed earlier this month by the government seeking possession of Crundwell's more than 300 registered quarter horses to ensure their health and well-being until the horses could be sold. Prosecutors amended their complaint last week to include an additional 94 quarter horses, 21 embryos, saddles, and frozen semen which they state are subject to forfeiture.
A petition to intervene was filed today by Percott Company, LLC which operates as Meri-J Ranch. Meri-J Ranch states that it has been responsible for the feeding, boarding, and training of the horses located in Wisconsin prior to Crundwell's indictment. Meri-J Ranch asserts it has incurred costs which led to liens in excess of $150,000. Meri-J Ranch claims it has an interest in sixty of the registered quarter horses.
Jim McPhillips, Crundwell's boyfriend, is listed as the manager of Meri-J Ranch, Percott Company, LLC.
Those responsible for caring for twenty-one of Crundwell's horses in Texas have also filed a motion stating they haven't been paid in excess of $150,000 for vet and boarding services. The lien holders include Brock and Kristi Allen of Allen Equine, Hartman Equine Preproduction Center, P.A., and Dr. Barry Wood.
Prosecutors allege Crundwell utilized stolen funds to not only purchase horses but also to pay for the upkeep of all of her horses.
The judge ruled today, on May 31, that the properties and motor home belonging to Rita Crundwell can be sold.