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National Briefing / Pennsylvania

2 judges admit guilt in fraud

February 13, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Two judges charged with taking more than $2 million in kickbacks to send young offenders to privately run detention centers pleaded guilty to fraud.

Prosecutors allege that Luzerne County Judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan took $2.6 million in payoffs to put juvenile offenders in lockups run by PA Child Care and a sister company, possibly tainting the convictions of thousands of youths.

The judges pleaded guilty in federal court in Scranton to honest-services fraud and tax fraud. Ciavarella has denied sending youths to jail for cash. The plea agreements call for more than seven years in prison. They were permitted to remain free pending sentencing.

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