Broker Admits Funneling Over $1M in Bribes to N.J. School Official

April 3, 2012

A Maryland insurance broker has admitted making more than $1 million in bribes to a former school superintendent in southern New Jersey.

Seventy-year-old Francis X. Gartland of Baltimore pleaded guilty Monday to charges of mail fraud, conspiracy to defraud the IRS and perjury.

Gartland admitted paying Toms River Regional Superintendent Michael Ritacco between $1 million and $2 million from 2002 to 2010 as part of a scheme to keep his contract as the district’s insurance broker. He also admitted using straw donors in 2007 to make illegal campaign contributions to Joseph Vas, the former Perth Amboy mayor who was running for Congress at the time.

Gartland could get more than 20 years in prison when he’s sentenced July 9.

Ritacco’s trial is scheduled to begin April 9.

Latest Comments

  • April 13, 2012 at 12:51 pm
    Agent says:
    Good post Buckeye. I smell politics in this mess. School boards are elected and it is very possible that payoffs/kickbacks were involved in this scheme. There is no way the ... read more
  • April 13, 2012 at 10:32 am
    Buckeye says:
    Great question, Agent. I think it is clear that this school board, at best, had its collective head in the stand. Based on the state of public education across the country, th... read more
  • April 11, 2012 at 11:49 am
    Agent says:
    Between crooked guys like this and the teacher unions in NJ, Christie must have his hands full. No wonder their school system is a cess pool.
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