High Rolling AQHA Breeder Pleads Not Guilty to $53M Theft

Judge Grants Sale of Crundwell’s 400 Quarter Horses

A judge has approved the sale of 400 registered quarter horses owned by top AQHA breeder and former Dixon comptroller Rita Crundwell.
The horses, including any new-born foals, will be dispersed in the coming months, in addition to 21 embryos, semen from eight stallions, and saddles. Marshals will utilize experts familiar with the quarter horse industry and the sale could be via an online or live auction. Crundwell has been ordered to provide the horses’ documents to facilitate the sale.
As the sale was approved, attorneys representing those who say they should be reimbursed for costs associated with Crundwell’s horses, are speaking. A group of Texas business owners say they have been caring for 21 of Crundwell’s horses. Court documents state they haven’t been paid more than $150,000 for vet and horse boarding services.
The other company to file a motion to intervene is Percott Company, LLC, which operates as Meri-J Ranch. Documents state 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 expenses in excess of $150,000. Meri-J Ranch also claims it has “an interest” in sixty of the registered quarter horses.
It is interesting to note that Marshals seized documents from one of Crundwell’s homes labeled “Percott Co/Meri-J Ranch” and a box containing “Percott Co statements, duplicate checks, [and] misc paperwork” on the day of her arrest. Horse trainer Jim McPhillips, Crundwell’s boyfriend, is listed in all past advertisements as the manager of Meri-J Ranch.
The judge has granted the motions to intervene.
Prosecutors asked for the sale because caring for the horses was burdensome. Crundwell agreed to the sale.
Prosecutors allege Crundwell stole more than $53 million from her former employer, the City of Dixon, and utilized the funds to purchase and support her horses.
Crundwell is charged with one count of wire fraud. She has pleaded not guilty.