The U.S. District Attorney today announced a guilty plea related to the Michael J. Ritacco case, where a man was ordered to make thousands of dollars in monthly payments to keep his contract with Toms River Regional.
The payments, totaling $9,000 a month, continued from October 2002 to June 2007, according to the U.S. District Attorney's Office.
Carl Amenhauser, 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.
has pleaded not guilty to charges of tax evasion, bribery and fraud and awaits trial April 9. The man U.S. District Attorney's said was Ritacco's co-conspirator, former Toms River Regional insurance broker Francis X. Gartland, today admitted in a scheme to shuffle more than $1 million in bribes between the superintendent and intermediaries.
According to the federal indictment released today, the district's former athletic director Frank D'Alonzo urged Ritacco to use Amenhauser to provide workers' compensation insurance to Toms River Regional in May 2002.
According to the indictment: the district insurance broker, Gartland, said Amenhauser would be paid $20,000 monthly under his district contract, but Amenhauser should then divvy up that money between Gartland and D'Alonzo.
Gartland would be paid $6,000, and D'Alonzo would be paid $3,000 each month, according to the indictment. Amenhauser would keep $5,000. The remaining $6,000 would go toward administering the employee assistance program expenses.
Amenhauser was the owner of Compass Health Management, Employee Assistance Resources and Compass Employee Assistance Resources — companies which had contracts with Toms River Regional Schools to provide workers' compensation insurance administration.
His staff biography at Compass lists Amenhauser as the chief executive officer, with more than 25 years experience in providing employee assistance and behavioral health-care services to both public and private workplaces.
Amenhauser's attorney, James A. Plaisted of Roseland, had no comment when reached by phone this evening. He declined to comment when asked about his client, or how Amenhauser's plea might impact the Ritacco or Gartland charges.
According to the plea, Amenhauser was pressured by Gartland to make these payments in order for Amenhauser to obtain and maintain his insurance service contract with the Toms River Regional School District.
"Amenhauser made these payments, believing that unless he made them he could not retain his contract with the Toms River school district," according to the indictment. He initially questioned them but was told by Gartland he would lose the contract, according to the indictment.
The $6,000 and $3,000 payments continued monthly from October 2002 to June 2007.
In February 2010, Amenhauser was questioned by the FBI about the payments and tried to conceal them, according to the indictment. Amenhauser allegedly told investigators the payments were unrelated to the district and were for Gartland in another venture entirely.
Amenhauser pleaded guilty to providing false statements. The charge is punishable by a maximum of five years and fines of $250,000.
Amenhauser awaits sentencing June 26.