Authorities sold the seized horse to the owner due to the cost of keeping it

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  • US authorities have seized Lex, a $750,000 show jumping horse, in a $1.3 billion fraud case.
  • Federal agents realized it would cost up to $55,000 a year to deal with it, Bloomberg reported.
  • Christine Fisher, daughter of the accused man, paid $25,000 to get the horse back, according to Bloomberg.

The US government resold a $750,000 show jumping horse to its owner for just $25,000 after realizing it would cost too much to maintain, Bloomberg reported.

Authorities first seized the horse, named Lex, after its owner, Atlanta accountant Jack Fisher, was charged by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in connection with $1.3 billion tax cheat with four others.

Fisher had purchased the horse, a 15-year-old Holsteiner, for his daughter Christina. She begged the authorities to leave Lex saying, “Take what you want, it’s money, but you can’t treat a live animal like that.”

“I feel violated and helpless,” Christina told Bloomberg. “I’m not part of the case. I’m not 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 and $50,000 a year to feed and care for Lex, excluding medical expenses.

The horse’s value had fallen sharply, with an examination determining it was worth $145,000, according to the report.

The U.S. 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 found guilty. She had planned to ride a horse down the aisle on her wedding day.

Documents released by the Department of Justice in February show Jack Fisher used the proceeds of the tax evasion to buy the horse, along with properties worth millions of dollars and $225,000 tickets for a ‘Hall of Fame experience’ of the Super Bowl.

U.S. authorities use proceeds from the sale of seized assets to compensate victims of fraud and deter criminals, in a process known as federal forfeiture.

The seizure of horses has a precedent. In 2012, the authorities raised $4.8 million by selling more than 150 horses belonging to Rita Crundwell, then Comptroller of Dixon, Illinois, after she was charged with embezzling 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 United States faces 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 did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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