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A federal judge has sentenced a former insurance broker to 135 months behind bars for scheming to bribe a New Jersey school superintendent in order to obtain workers compensation insurance business, prosecutors announced November 16.
Francis X. Gartland, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to charges of mail fraud and conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and perjury in connection with the scheme. Mr. Gartland and other defendants paid $1 million to $2 million in bribes and other benefits to Michael J. Ritacco, a former superintendent for the Toms River Regional School District, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey.
Mr. Gartland admitted that in 2002, he, Mr. Ritacco and two of their associates agreed Mr. Ritacco would approve a workers comp insurance contract between Mr. Gartland and the school district.
The contract fee would have yielded $500,000 to $600,000 per year, which would be used to pay bribes and kickbacks to Mr. Ritacco, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.
The two other participants are Frank D'Alonzo, a former school district administrator, and Frank Cotroneo, an insurance broker, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.
Participants in the scheme agreed to use middlemen, shell companies, sham consulting contracts and third-party payments to secretly pass hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, according to the prosecutors.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Joel Pisano on Nov. 16 sentenced Mr. Gartland to three years of supervised release. Mr. Ritacco previously pleaded guilty to charges of mail fraud and conspiracy to defraud the IRS and was sentenced to 135 months in prison, prosecutors said.
The U.S. Attorney's office did not name the brokerage Mr. Gartland formerly represented.
(Reuters) — Only a handful of wealthy nations are tackling bribery by companies vying for lucrative contracts abroad as a worldwide crackdown launched 15 years ago is weakened by the global economic downturn, a watchdog said on Thursday.