Fraud, tax charges filed against third Pa. judge

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - December 2, 2009

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday filed fraud and tax charges against Luzerne County Judge Michael Toole. Court documents indicate he will plead guilty.

Prosecutors say Toole "corruptly abused" his position by concealing his financial relationship with an attorney who appeared before him in court. They say the 49-year-old judge "improperly ruled" in the attorney's favor in an arbitration case.

Two other Luzerne County judges were charged in January with accepting millions of dollars in kickbacks to place youth offenders in privately owner detention centers.

A total of 20 people have been charged this year in a wide-ranging federal corruption probe in Luzerne County.

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