23 Aug 2014
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Men Named in Ritacco Conspiracy Awaiting Sentencing

Several plead guilty but have no court date; one contractor was ordered to pay $20,000.

Men Named in Ritacco Conspiracy Awaiting Sentencing

A series of intermediaries allegedly associated with the kickback schemes of former superintendent Michael Ritacco have but still await sentencing.

The former Toms River Regional Superintendent pleaded guity April 5 to two of the 27 charges he was facing, and admitted his role in years of corruption at the school district, where as much as $2.5 million in bribes were allegedly passed between Ritacco, insurance brokers and intermediaries.

He pleaded guilty to mail fraud and conspiracy to impede the IRS. Ritacco could face 11 to 14 years jail time, according to sentencing guidelines. He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Joel A. Pisano at a 10 a.m. Sept. 14 in Trenton federal court.

But more than one of the co-conspirators and intermediaries are still awaiting sentencing for guilty pleas, months later, and have no sentencing date currently scheduled.

Former Insurance Broker Francis X. Gartland

Ritacco was indicted alongside former district insurance broker Francis X. Gartland, who pleaded guilty to several charges in that indictment days before Ritacco.

Gartland, 70, .

Gartland was originally scheduled to be sentenced July 9. In June, the sentencing date was rescheduled, and then also postponed without another date named for sentencing.

On April 2, Gartland plead guilty to four charges: mail fraud, conspiracy to defraud the IRS and perjury in the Ritacco case.

Gartland admitted to his role with co-conspirators who paid $1 million to $2 million in bribes to Ritacco in exchange for inflated insurance contracts from 2002 to 2010, according to U.S. District Attorney Paul Fishman.

Insurance Broker Frank Cotroneo

Frank Cotroneo, an insurance broker, was accused of funneling bribes to Ritacco in exchange for inflated insurance contracts. He was originally indicted on federal charges, one count of bribery and multiple counts of tax evasion.

His guilty plea came days before Ritacco was indicted in fall 2010.

Cotroneo has no sentencing date scheduled. Although court documents show the case is not closed, the last item in the court docket for Cotroneo was an In-Person Status Conference scheduled for September 2011, which was canceled.

Former Athletics Director Frank D'Alonzo

Also named as an intermediary was a former Athletics Director for Toms River Regional Schools, Frank D'Alonzo.

D'Alonzo and Cotroneo admitted their guilt in fall 2010 when they pleaded guilty to one count each of bribery and three counts each of tax evasion.

His guilty plea also came days before Ritacco was indicted in fall 2010.

D'Alonzo has no sentencing date scheduled currently. On July 5, his sentencing was "postponed until further notice," according to the court docket. 

Contractor Carl Amenhauser

One man who was ordered to make thousands of dollars in monthly payments to keep his contract with Toms River Regional was sentenced in August.

The payments, totaling $9,000 a month, continued from October 2002 to June 2007, according to the U.S. District Attorney's Office.

, 66, pleaded guilty March 27 to making false statements to the FBI when questioned about the payments, which occurred in 2002 after then-superintendent Michael J. Ritacco hired Amenhauser to provide workers compensation consulting services to Toms River Regional Schools.

On Aug. 16, Amenhauser was sentenced, ordered to pay a $20,000 fine for the charge, and a $100 court fee. He will be on probation for three years.

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