Michael Ritacco Pleads Guilty
The former Toms River Regional Superintendent accused of taking million in bribes has plead guilty to corruption and tax evasion charges.
According to Robert Glantz, public information officer with the Internal Revenue Service, Ritacco plead guilty to count one and nineteen of the indictment against him. Count one is a mail fraud charge and nineteen is a charge of conspiracy to impede the IRS.
INDICTMENTS: Read the indictments against Michael Ritacco
Listen to Robert Glantz
Glantz says the first count carries a maximum twenty year sentence and count nineteen carries a maximum sentence of five years, and additionally as part of the plea agreement, agreed to forfeit one million dollars, his 2010 e550 Mercedes Benz, and 8,950 dollars in cash which was found in his home in 2010.
REACTION FROM THE BOARD OF ED
"I think its important for the board to continue to work to increase the oversight and transparency and public trust here in Toms River" said Toms River School Board member Ben Giovine.
"The spider-web he wed over there is going to take us years to clean out...these are elaborate spider-web like frauds" said Alex Pavliv, another member of the Toms River School Board.
Pavliv encouraged the public to help them increase transparency in the future.
"If they come to meetings and make an effort to show up and demand answers, they will get them...but if they are going to bury their heads in the sand, its only going to allow the next Ritacco to come up again."
Listen to reaction from the Toms River School Board members
US District Court Judge Joel Pisano heard the plea, and will be presiding for sentencing on July 12th.
Glantz says though the maximum will be twenty years, the judge will use the Advisory Sentencing Guidelines to make a determination on the sentence. Ritacco, who is a level 33 on the guidelines, could face 135-168 months, which translates to 11 to 14 years in prison, says Glantz.
"But the judge can sentence someone within that range the judge can go above and the judge can go below. That's up to the judge's discretion."