SPECIAL REPORT: A former Ridgewood public works inspector sentenced to probation yesterday is repaying the village only $188,337 of the nearly half-million dollars in parking-meter quarters that authorities said he stole, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has found.
Media reports following Thomas Rica’s sentencing in Hackensack yesterday put the figure as low as $250,000 and as high as the $460,000 total cited by authorities.
However, Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Daniel Keitel confirmed CLIFFVIEW PILOT ‘s accounting today — adding that authorities have been unable to determine exactly how much money Rica took.
Investigators were forced to go through Rica’s bank deposits because “much of the funds were in cash,” the assistant prosecutor said.
Keitel yesterday gave a detective in court a check for $64,337 toward restitution to be delivered to the village.
Rica also agreed to repay $120,000 over five years in installments of $2,000 a month as part of a plea deal that kept him out of prison.
That comes to $188,337.
Of that, $30,000 is pension money that was at first seized and later returned, Keitel said.
Another $31,000 came from family — $25,000 from Rica’s brother and $6,000 from their father.
Authorities seized $3,337 from his home when they arrested Rica. That will go toward restitution, as well, Keitel said.
Rica’s brother is giving him a job that presumably will help pay the $2,000 per month.
Authorities are entering a civil judgment in the full $460,000 amount. How much they’ll be able to collect is an open question.
The village is also filing an insurance claim, officials said.
STORY / PHOTO: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.