The Toms River Regional school district has not yet received any restitution funding from former Superintendent Michael J. Ritacco, officials confirmed this week.
Ritacco – the disgraced former schools chief who admitted to stealing as much as $2.5 million through bribes passed between himself, insurance brokers and intermediaries – is now serving an 11 year term in federal prison.
The school district is trying to recoup the money Ritacco took and garnish his pension. As part of his sentence, Ritacco must pay a $1 million fine plus restitution. In Dec. 2012, records show, the federal
government filed a lien against Ritacco in the
amount of $4,437,187.91. The lien
was recorded with the Ocean County Clerk’s office in Feb. 2013.
But so far, the school district has not received any money, said school district Stephan Leone.
"We are in very hot pursuit of that," Leone said. "We've had meetings, and we're making progress, but we don't have the money yet."
Federal garnishments on Ritacco's pension could make up for some of the restitution, Leone said. The garnishments are in place, he explained, but there are "legal challenges" to them that are still being worked out.
Seaside Park Home No Longer For Sale
Ritacco's former home in Seaside Park had been listed for sale earlier this year for $1.95 million. A real estate agent for the realty which had the listing said on Wednesday that the house was now under contract.
The sale of the home, should it go through, will be used for restitution payments, officials have said.
"Our lien for restitution is recorded and all equity from
the sale of the home will go towards payment of restitution," Matthew Reilly, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office, told Patch previously.