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Ritacco, Others Ordered To Pay Millions Back To Toms River Schools

Ritacco, the former Toms River superintendent, and Francis X. Gartland, the district's former insurance broker, have been ordered to pay $4,336,987.91

Several former officials have been ordered to pay back millions to Toms River schools for their involvement in a bribes scandal that brought down the district's superintendent.

Michael J. Ritacco, the former superintendent for the Toms River Regional School District, and Francis X. Gartland, the district's former insurance broker, have been ordered to pay $4,336,987.91 in restitution to the school district, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced Thursday.

Frank D’Alonzo, the former supervisor of Athletics and Special Projects for the School District, was ordered to pay $1,625,952.79 in restitution.

Ritacco, 64, of Seaside Heights, Gartland, 71, of Baltimore, and D’Alonzo, 55, of Lavallette, all previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano in Trenton federal court to charges relating to a bribery and kickback scheme involving themselves and other conspirators, including Frank Cotroneo.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

The bribery and kickback scheme spanned 2002 to 2010, during which time Ritacco accepted $1 million to $2 million in bribes and other benefits from the conspirators in return for Ritacco’s official action and influence. This was done so Gartland could obtain and maintain insurance contracts at the school district.

Ritacco and Gartland were each sentenced to 135 months in prison and D’Alonzo was sentenced to 37 months in prison.

As part of their plea agreements, Ritacco, Gartland, and D’Alonzo agreed to make restitution. Following a hearing on Dec. 12, Pisano issued an opinion in which the Court concluded that the school district was “unquestionably” the victim of the defendants' bribery and kickback scheme and determined the loss from the fraud scheme was $4,336,987.91.

The loss consisted of excess money the district paid to Gartland and his entities,
which were then passed to Ritacco as bribes, derived from the district’s health insurance coverage and worker’s compensation program.

Ritacco and Gartland were ordered to pay the full amount of the school district’s loss, jointly and severally, while D’Alonzo was ordered to pay a portion of the loss consistent with the years in which he was involved actively in the criminal
scheme.

In addition to ordering restitution, the court also ordered that Gartland forfeit to the United States a sum of $11 million, which represented all proceeds derived from the fraudulent scheme. D’Alonzo also was ordered to forfeit a sum of $4.3 million, which represented the proceeds derived from the scheme while he was an active participant.

Prior to his sentencing on Sept. 14, Ritacco forfeited to the United States $1 million, a 2010 Mercedes Benz, and $8,950 in cash.

Clayton December 23, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Isn't that the truth...I also like daves idea...lets give the them all a public trashing! Better yet... Lets all make a big circle, let the towns people watch. Put them in shackles and let everyone paddle them as they did years ago or hang them. Maybe then this bad unethical behavior will stop.
charlotte December 25, 2012 at 08:17 PM
I agree - that would be fraud.
charlotte December 25, 2012 at 08:26 PM
That alone is the problem and what has rendered the populous virtually powerless. Mandate an ethics class - turning a blind eye to misappropriation of funds whether through ignorance or greed makes one unsuited for public service. You are taking tax dollars from families. No Guilt?
SystemIsBroken December 25, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Nice Link! If i am reading this correct, Mike takes out 2 ONE year mortgages from family for $250000 at ZERO interest, that HAVE TO BE PAID BACK UPON the Sale. Hope Judge Pisano is aware of these transactions and where the proceeds go! If not going to Attorneys fees , on the surface it has the appearance of Money Laundering to avoid a judgement!
Bowie Thelonius December 25, 2012 at 10:57 PM
I'm not saying there's corruption, but since it's also in Ocean County, can the feds look into OCC? Just to be sure it's all on the up and up :)

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