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Judge Oks sale of horses obtained by comptroller

Posted by wlpo on June 16, 2012

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) – A federal judge has ruled the U.S. Marshals Service can begin selling quarter horses obtained by the former Dixon comptroller accused of stealing millions of dollars from the small north-central Illinois town.

U.S. Magistrate Judge P. Michael Mahoney on Friday said the marshals can sell 401 horses, as well as 21 embryos and frozen stallion semen.

Before Mahoney’s ruling, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Pedersen told the court caring for the horses is expensive and prolonging their sale could diminish their value.

Rita Crundwell has pleaded not guilty to wire fraud charges alleging she stole from the city to pay for a lavish lifestyle and creation of the horse-breeding operation, one of the nation’s largest.

Prosecutors allege the 59-year-old Crundwell misappropriated more than $30 million since mid-2006.

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