The superintendent of New Jersey's fourth-largest school district has surrendered to the FBI to face corruption and bribery charges.
Toms River Schools superintendent Michael Ritacco arrived at the FBI's Newark office Thursday. He did not speak to reporters as he entered the building.
Ritacco, along with Francis X. Gartland, an insurance broker, will face an 18-count indictment on charges of fraud and bribery. The indictment will be unsealed later this afternoon.
Ritacco was implicated in an insurance bribery and kickback scheme earlier this week when Gartland, a school district supervisor and Morris County insurance broker, admitted in court they had been part of a scheme to inflate school insurance charges and kick back part of the money to Ritacco as bribes.
Ritacco's lawyer says his client was never a fugitive from justice. Jerome Balloratto, speaking to NBCNewYork via cellphone, says the Superintendent of New Jersey's fourth largest school district was en route to his lawyer's office in Trenton this morning at the same time FBI agents were raiding his Seaside Park home.
"We wanted to arrange a date to surrender to them but they wouldn't give us one," Ballarotto said. "He didn't know what to do, so he came to my office, only I'm in Florida working. Would I have come here if I'd known they were looking for him?"
What he couldn't say was how the long time Superintendent, who has been in the Toms River district for forty years, knew the feds were coming this morning.
Federal agents raided Ritacco's home last April seizing boxes of documents. He had remained on the job until this morning when they sought to arrest him.