FORT WORTH -- Holding up a diamond-studded ring in the shape of a horseshoe, U.S. Marshal Jason Wojdylo said, "This was her trademark –– her RC trademark; Rita Crundwell."
"It could be yours for about 10,000 bucks."
About half the seized jewelry to be auctioned at the Fort Worth Convention Center Saturday came from Crundwell's collection, including the more-than-four-carat ring Wojdylo held in his hand.
Crundwell craved the status and attention that came from breeding the world's finest quarter horses. Unfortunately, she funded her passion by embezzling more than $50 million from the city of Dixon, Ill. over a period of more than 20 years.
The town is about the size of Mineral Wells. Crundwell was the city comptroller. She pled guilty.
"The collection is worth about a half million dollars," says Wojdylo.
U.S. Marshals already auctioned off her homes and about 400 horses. One stallion went for $775,000. Bidders came from around the world.
Now it's down to diamonds. Among the shoppers was comedian and Laugh-in TV Star, Ruth Buzzi, known for walloping people with her big purse.
"Whooo, isn't it terrible that she did such a thing," Buzzi said.
U.S. Marshals say Crundwell was driven by greed and status.
"Well, when she has access to unlimited resources, that's what you buy," said Wojdylo.
Crundwell's ill-gotten gains make up about half the items to be auctioned at the Fort Worth Convention Center Saturday.
A gold pendant of Sponge Bob SquarePants belonged to a Miami drug lord.
About $1.4 million in gold bars came from a securities fraud case. The owner made a bad trade for steel bars.
The auction starts at 10 a.m. Saturday.There is no admission fee, but there is a $500 refundable deposit required. Online bidders can get information here.
Rita Crundwell is serving 19 and a half years in prison. Proceeds from her jewelry will go back to the city of Dixon, Ill.