- US authorities seized Lex, a $750,000 showjumping horse, as part of a $1.3 billion fraud case.
- Federal agents realized it would cost up to $55,000 a year to care for, Bloomberg reported.
- Christine Fisher, daughter of the man indicted, paid $25,000 to get the horse back, per Bloomberg.
The US Government sold a $750,000 showjumping horse back to its owner for just $25,000 after realizing it would cost too much to look after, Bloomberg reported.
Authorities initially seized the horse, called Lex, after its owner, the Atlanta accountant Jack Fisher, was indicted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in connection with tax fraud worth $1.3 billion along with four other individuals.
Fisher had bought the horse, a 15-year-old Holsteiner, for his daughter Christina. She pleaded with authorities to leave Lex, saying: “Take whatever you want that’s monetary, but you can’t treat a living animal like this.”
“I feel violated and helpless,” Christina told Bloomberg. “I’m not a part of the case. I’m not a part of the business. I was completely caught off guard, and they took an innocent animal.”
Bloomberg reported that federal agents soon realized it would cost between $45,000 to $50,000 a year to feed and care for Lex, excluding medical costs.
The horse’s value had dropped sharply, with an examination determining it to be worth $145,000, according to the report.
The US Attorney’s Office in Atlanta then agreed to return the horse to Christina for $25,000, on the understanding that they could collect more if her father was convicted. She planned to ride the horse down the aisle on her wedding day.
Documents released by the Justice Department in February show Jack Fisher used proceeds of the tax fraud to buy the horse, as well as properties worth millions of dollars, and $225,000 tickets for a Super Bowl “Hall of Fame Experience.”
US authorities use the proceeds from selling seized assets to compensate the victims of fraud and deter crime, in a process known as federal forfeiture.
The seizure of horses has some precedent. In 2012, authorities raised $4.8 million by selling more than 150 horses belonging to then-comptroller of Dixon, Illinois, Rita Crundwell after she was indicted on misappropriating city funds to fund a “lavish lifestyle.”
But Fisher’s case highlights the running costs associated with maintaining assets before they can be sold.
The US is facing huge costs to maintain assets such as superyachts seized from Russian oligarchs, according to US national security adviser Jake Sullivan.
The Justice Department and the IRS didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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