SCRANTON, Pa. – A former juvenile court judge who sent thousands of children to detention centers was convicted Friday of racketeering for taking a $1 million kickback from the builder of the for-profit lockups, in what prosecutors said was a "kids for cash" scheme that ranks among the biggest courtroom frauds in U.S. history.
Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella, 61, left the bench in disgrace two years ago after he and a second judge, Michael Conahan, were accused of using juvenile delinquents as pawns in a plot to get rich. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has dismissed 4,000 juvenile convictions issued by Ciavarella, saying he sentenced young offenders without regard for their constitutional rights.
Federal prosecutors accused Ciavarella and Conahan of taking more than $2 million in bribes from the builder of the PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care detention centers and extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from the facilities' co-owner.
A federal jury in Scranton convicted Ciavarella of 12 counts, including racketeering, money laundering and conspiracy, but acquitted him of 27 counts, including extortion. He is likely to get a prison sentence of more than 12 years, according to prosecutors — who revealed after the verdicts that a reputed mob boss turned informant helped them make their case. ...
Pa. judge guilty of racketeering in kickback case - Yahoo! News