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Auction Of Indicted Comptroller's Horses, Equipment Yields $6.5M

DIXON, Ill. (CBS) -- Federal marshals have started running numbers to tally totals from a weekend auction of property owned by former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell, who is accused of embezzling $53 million over the last 22 years.

CBS 2's Marissa Bailey reports the big question is when, if ever, Dixon will be repaid the money Crundwell allegedly stole.

So far, auctions of Crundwell's horses and other property have yielded nearly $6.5 million.

The auction ended, the horses and equipment sold, a once lively ranch is now a pickup site for the buyers.

"We knew probably what kind of quality horses they were, and wanted to come see what it was all about," said Janel W., who bought three horses.

All of the stables at the ranch also were sold off.

U.S. Marshals Service Chief Inspector Jason Wojdylo has been at Crundwell's ranch since the federal government seized her property and began the process of selling it off.

For five-and-a-half months, he's been working on the process of selling off everything from horses to hay to bulldozers to make money back for the city of Dixon.

"The city of Dixon will get paid, if ever the defendant is convicted, and the court orders any proceeds to be paid to them. So a timeframe is very difficult to make," Wojdylo said.

Crundwell is accused of stealing $53 million from the city, has been indicted on 60 felony theft counts, and has pleaded not guilty in the federal case.

The horse auction brought in about $6.4 million, but Dixon won't see all of it, even if Crundwell is convicted.

"All expenses of the marshals' will come off the top of proceeds. The balance will then be made available to victims of the alleged crime," Wojdylo said.

Federal marshals estimate their bill to be $1.5 million dollars for taking care of and maintaining the horses.

That means just shy of $5 million from the auction is now in limbo, waiting patiently for Crundwell's day in court.

"Nothing will happen until so ordered by the court," Wojdylo said. "In the meantime, any proceeds that we generate along the way will be held in the escrow account."

Crundwell will also have her personal items sold at auction – including jewelry, fine art, appliances, and electronics. That will take place in about 60 days.

Then, the 80-plus acres of land where her ranch now sits will go up for sale.

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