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NJ School Superintendent Pleads Not Guilty

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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – The former superintendent of New Jersey’s fourth-largest school district has pleaded not guilty to corruption charges.

Michael Ritacco entered his plea Wednesday during a brief hearing in U.S. District Court in Trenton. He retired last month after he was arrested on fraud and bribery charges stemming from an alleged insurance-kickback scheme that federal officials called “staggering” in its scope.

Prosecutors allege Ritacco and insurance broker Francis Gartland of Baltimore, Md., concealed more than $1 million in bribes between 2002 and 2010 from insurance brokers and other service providers. Gartland also pleaded not guilty Wednesday.

Court documents say the men spent money on home renovations and luxury items.

(Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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