Ritacco Sentencing Judge Welcomes Public Comment

Residents can send written comments to Judge Pisano

Residents have the option of sending written comments to the sentencing judge prior to the sentencing of Toms River Regional's disgraced former superintendent on fraud charges.

The sentencing of former Toms River Regional is July 12, before U.S. District Court Judge Joel A. Pisano in Trenton.

Ritacco plead 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.

As part of the plea Ritacco will forfeit $1 million dollars, his 2010 Mercedes e550, and $8,960 from his home found as part of an FBI raid.

The school district's former insurance broker, Francis X. Gartland, is scheduled for sentencing July 9 before Pisano. On April 2, Gartland plead guilty to four charges: mail fraud, conspiracy to defraud the IRS and perjury.

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.

School board member Jack Reuther said he was asked by a resident if people would have an opportunity to submit written comment prior to the sentencings.

"Our legal system allows that," said Reuther.

Letters are accepted, not email or phone correspondence. Letters can be mailed to:

U.S. District Court Judge Joel A. Pisano

United States Courthouse

402 East State Street

Trenton, NJ 08608



Mike L June 05, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Even though I wish it was true, he's going to a Federal Prison, not a State Prison. Remember that he's going with the elite thieves and corrupters, Bernie M and the boys of Political nature.
donna calabro June 05, 2012 at 04:16 PM
I totally agree GREED is always bad, throw away the key, let him rot in jail
G.Michaels June 05, 2012 at 07:49 PM
I used to feel the same way as many of you. Now, I see it a bit different. We have all gained in property values as to what he had accomplished as our superintendent. T.R. schools were recognized as the one of the best if not the best.He did do a lot of good(thats the bottom line) for a individual to run a corporation over 2000 employees hold a base salary in the 7 figure mark. I clearly understand what he has done is unethical - a prison sentence, where we will pay to house him, will do us NO good either. Not saying he should walk but fines are sufficient and his career and reputation have been destroyed. Hes a family man not a criminal he deserves to sit with rapist,murders etc etc.
Mitchell June 05, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Don't forget that everything he did was "for the kids". Yeah, right!
riverfest June 05, 2012 at 08:01 PM
this is not the end of it - nor for a minute do i think the theft began and ended with only the insurance nor ritacco alone. his sentence will be dictated by the judge based on coming clean on everything and any one else involved in this and every other indescretion - the enabler board members have no shame and need to be removed pronto !
ryan June 05, 2012 at 08:24 PM
What world do you live in my property value is down like 35 percent and T.R. schools were recognized as the best by T.R. schools and were not ranked high in the state rankings. Smoke and mirrors my friend smoke and mirrors
Karen Ann Campbell June 05, 2012 at 08:53 PM
One of the most arrogant people I have ever met. I never really liked him but when I went to the meeting before the bubble and he blew off my questions regarding the proposed "health center" that was supposed to be on the property. He refused to address the issue of a pool being built for the district. For the Kids my arse. Karma!
silvertonmom June 05, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Seriously? You've got to be kidding!!! He is a criminal...Stole from every one of us TR residents and should be punished accordingly! PERIOD!
Stan Buchwald June 05, 2012 at 09:58 PM
G.Michaels is right, while its true he was an SOB to deal with,there a lot of positives to his tenure as the super. In the end however it was plain and simple greed that got him. It happens everywhere. Now it's up to the courts to decide his fate. Like I have stated in previous posts,let's not be hasty to lump all the remaining board members in with him. If there are better candidates running for the board than so be it. I don't think just because they served under Ritacco means they must go. We need to make informed decisions on election day,not knee-jerk reactions. We must protect all the good that our school system has built and move forward. Property values all over have dropped not just here in TR. that my friends was due in large part to the banking industry. Anyone Remember that? Just sayin, that's all.
G.Michaels June 05, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Ryan, I think you live in a world of dissolution. Im well aware of property values falling over the past 2 years... you may want to blame the president for that. Not, Ritacco.I dont think you can blame the US outlook on a local school boy. People flocked to Toms River to be a part of the schools. The Ritacco,Poland Spring,Pine Belt Center whatever you want to call that profit center was his idea.along with the Bubbles to benefit "the Kiddies" and Ms Fraser. what could this whole thing possibly cost you???? a whopping maximum $50.... Im not the one saying he should walk free and clear. but imprisonment is pathetic for the crime. for what he did on a balance sheet would be like one of you working your menial jobs and stealing pens, paper clips or time ie late to arrive,late from lunch and leaving early. I love all the perfectionist that "the patch" brings out. You all should put your efforts into stopping social programs like food stamps,welfare and the losers on unemployment who work cash jobs. keep your blinders on Ryan.
Chrissy The Saint June 05, 2012 at 10:52 PM
A brain I like it. Better then the usual perfect people that are blinded by hate.
Landes June 06, 2012 at 03:28 AM
I just wonder, where tihe school district would be without the corruption. Guilty, period, he admitted to the crime, now the punishment phase comes. This man might have run the district like business, but the BOE rubber stamping, no checks, no balances, NO WAY! This is not a privately held company no accountable to anyone but yourself. He "thought" that he had everything in the palm of his hand, NOT QUITE RIGHT. If he wasn't so GREEDY, and yes this was pure GREED, we would not have had all of this negative attention. Federal prision, not State or County, come on. He should go to REAL jail, State prision for such deceptive practices. Throw the book at Toms River Dapper Dummy, and the school board needs to CLEAN HOUSE!! Put proper business practices in place and we as taxpayers need to DEMAND a proper accounting of all of these elected officials on our Board of Education.
just me June 06, 2012 at 04:53 AM
G. Michaels - I agree with you to a point. One of the reasons we chose Toms River to purchase our home 28 years ago was because it was known throughout New Jersey as having an excellent school system. Yes, Ritacco had good business acumen. Yes, he was also an astute businessman but, he eventually tipped the scales in the wrong direction and into his own pockets. I also agree that his career and reputation have been destroyed but he was hoisted by his own petard. What he did was criminal and he should be punished accordingly. I have to wonder if he would have offered a guilty plea had his cohorts not spilled the beans in order to protect their own derrieres prior to his hearing. So you think the embarrassment in addition to relinquishing a Mercedes and paying a million dollar fine is sufficient punishment? He's retired, will collect a pension and may continue to live out his days in a beautiful home at the beach. Seems that would make returning a car and paying a million dollar fine a lot more palatable than doing so in addition to some prison time, A "Federal Country Club" is still not home and who knows .... it could give him time to hone some humility.
Exit82 June 06, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Dear Judge Pisano, A public hanging would be the most appropriate sentence for Ritacco and his co-conspirators. But, because we live in a society that is soft on punishment, the maximum prison sentence will suffice. Thank you,
i don't get it?? June 06, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Holy Crap...can't believe that the judge actually wants to hear from the "Lil People"!!! Good for him!!! OPEN UP THE BIGGEST CAN OF WORMS T.R.
. June 06, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Family man? He didn't worry about that while having a girlfriend. Why should he not spend time in jail? A thief is a thief, no matter what they take. Most of the gains were personal for him.
Stan Buchwald June 06, 2012 at 09:13 PM
I don't get it ?? The name says it all.
i don't get it?? June 06, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Really Stan? That's your input on a comment that states...It's about time that someone actually wanted to hear what everyone else has to say????? Come on dude, seriously...once a Ritacco supporter...obviously you have friends in there too, or did have friends in there...just sayin...
holden2112 June 07, 2012 at 03:57 AM
Since when are TR schools recognized as one of the best? One of the best in Ocean County...maybe. But not one of the best in the State. Also, what kind of family man keeps a girlfriend on the side and takes money away from his family to support his side piece. You really have no clue.
Thomas Rivers June 07, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Good business sense? (GARTLAND THOUGHT SO) Arrogant & self-centered, with a world class vindictive streak ? (ABSOLUTELY) $2.5 payoff from Gartland only the tip of the iceberg? (NO DOUBT) Willing to take the maximum sentence to protect members of his "family" ? (APPARENTLY) Board of Education complicit? (ONLY A FOOL WOULD BELIEVE OTHERWISE) This situation screams for a Judge willing to send a strong message; Maximum sentence allowable, plus fines & restitution, and forfeiture of pension. While he's in the joint, routinely audit his son, daughter, and wife. Follow the money.
Mr. ? June 07, 2012 at 12:37 PM
So I will send these comments, as a letter, out to Judge Pisano ! If this panel was a jury of recommendation for Ritacco's sentencing, then public sentiment should tell Judge Pisano to throw the book at him!...ten years plus. He plead guilty to only two of the total of ( was it 21? ) indictments. That alone should show the extent of his guilt. The FBI was 99.9% correct with all those charges! You can take all that total jail time and balance that against the good he may have done for the district and come up moot. His executive crime against the taxpayers and children is the worst and is an example of whats going wrong in our country. Make an example of him, please Judge Pisano
Thomas Rivers June 07, 2012 at 12:54 PM
G. Michaels: If you think the Gartland case was an isolated event, you've been living in a cave for the past 20+ years. It goes quite a bit deeper than "unethical", which is word more appropriately attached to the actions of everyone around Ritacco, in a denial chain that likely included his executive assistant, BOE (members, secretary, and attornies), unnamed co-conspirators, the TREA, and the district's public relations shill. Ritacco's actions were, by definition, criminal. He "raped" the public trust, "murdered" his legacy, and made laughing stocks out of anyone that ever trusted his word. He's no more than a punch line in a bad joke about greed and corruption.
1stcav June 07, 2012 at 01:57 PM
There IS a log list of prominent people who allowed this to happen in Ocean County and he SHOULD name ALL who helped him at his sentencing , to be able to go forward and prosecute THEM all.Don't forget he held a fund raiser for of NEXT Governor at HIS mansion in SSP....and was on the list for "Education Reform Team" in NJ by the newly ( Silent ) Governor...CC..The " incrowd " in TR, OC and the STATE allowed this to happen and should be held ACCOUNTABLE !!!!!!! He did not do this alone he was enabled by the office holders on HIS watch ...
Marynary June 07, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Ritacco ran the school system with a staff behind him and elected school board in front of him. He had access to all the power people in Ocean County and some statewide. He was not caught stealing 2.5 million dollars by the local police, county prosecutor or NJ state police. It took the FBI to come in and make the case assisted by the IRS. It is simply stupid to think he did not have help, assistance or did not share some of his graft and stolen proceeds with the people that worked with him to steal from the public. The Toms River School System will always have the story of Mike Ritacco's abuse of the system reflecting on it's history. He should get the maximum sentence possible unless he is willing to help prosecute those that are also guilty. If his cooperation results in the conviction of those also responsible then he would deserve a reduction of sentence.
Floyd G Riley June 24, 2012 at 11:38 PM
What a wonderful family man????? --- What part of a mistress is included in your definition of a "family man"?
Bob Uecker June 26, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Enjoy your stay....scumbag.
Rob July 11, 2012 at 03:30 PM
This man is older and his crime is a white collar crime however, I personally feel that if Ritacco doesn't get at least 10 - 15 years, would be an injustice! He’s been getting away with this stuff for many years and FINALLY someone (FBI) called him on it! Pleated guilty to 2 out of 27 charges – what a joke and slap in the face to all of us paying taxes for him to live the “high life” and forget about the real reason he’s there … TO SERVE the public and do what is in THEIR best interests! Someone please tell me why the school district needs a dozen or more bulldozers and graders and the maintenance personal to upkeep them. I’m standing by for information on the next announcement of when the next "groundbreaking" is planned on school property that WE will need this equipment. Wasn’t he a builder also - ding ding ding !!! That's just one example of the things that are lost with the FBI's investigation going on ... How many more things has never even been reported or exposed from his deception of the public and mis-use of public funds? More that 50% of my property taxes go to the Toms River school system and it would be nice to know that someone else doesn’t pull another “Ritacco”. Please Judge Pisano, let the punishment fit the crime!! Thank you for your time and consideration.
Rem July 12, 2012 at 12:00 AM
A full audit from the time he started till the end. And those housing developments also i heard that school equipment at one time was used. Any other Joe would be in jail already why should he be any different because it was a blue collar crime.
Beverly July 23, 2012 at 02:13 PM
He will never spend a day in jail. Just wait and see. Knew this guy was crooked as far back aS 1992.
Carol Reilly September 13, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Carol, As far back as 1994, He was involved with sports, calling the shots as to who would play certain positions, regardless of the players qualifications, as a favor to other people.


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