former superintendent of toms river regional school district and insurance broker ordered to pay $4.3 million in restitution
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 20, 2012
TRENTON – Michael J. Ritacco, the former superintendent for the Toms River, N.J., Regional School District, and Francis X. Gartland, the former insurance broker for the Toms River Regional School District, have been ordered to pay $4,336,987.91 in restitution to the school district, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
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, N.J., Gartland, 71, of Baltimore, Md., and D’Alonzo, 55, of Lavallette, N.J., 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 in order for Gartland to 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, 2012, Judge Pisano yesterday 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 monies 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 $11.0 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, 2012, Ritacco forfeited to the United States $1 million, a 2010 Mercedes Benz, and $8,950 in cash.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward; and IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Shantelle P. Kitchen, for the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dustin Chao, Harvey Bartle, and Lee M. Cortes, Jr. of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division.
Ritacco: Jerome A. Ballarotto Esq., Trenton, N.J., and William J. Hughes, Esq., Atlantic City, N.J.
Gartland: Kelly Daniels Esq., Denville, N.J.
D’Alonzo: Lisa Mack Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark