Judges to enter plea in kickback scheme

February 12, 2009 5:36:20 AM PST
Two Pennsylvania judges charged with taking kickbacks to send youth offenders to privately run detention centers are scheduled to appear in federal court Thursday afternoon. Prosecutors say 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 LLC and a sister company, Western PA Child Care LLC. The judges were charged on Jan. 26 and removed from the bench by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court shortly afterward.

The judges are scheduled to plead guilty to two counts of fraud. Their plea agreements call for sentences of more than seven years in prison. They are expected to remain free pending sentencing.

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