Insurance Broker Admits Bribing New Jersey School Official

April 4, 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 a 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.

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