ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Two former Pennsylvania judges have been indicted on federal racketeering charges for allegedly taking kickbacks to place juvenile offenders in private jails.
A federal grand jury in Harrisburg returned a 48-count indictment against former Luzerne County Judges Michael Conahan and Mark Ciavarella (shiv-uh-REL'-uh).
The charges include racketeering, fraud, money laundering, extortion, bribery and federal tax violations.
Conahan and Ciavarella were originally charged in January. They had agreed to plead guilty to a pair of fraud charges in return for sentences of more than seven years in prison.
A federal judge rejected the plea deal, saying the two hadn't fully accepted responsibility for the crimes. The two then changed their pleas to not guilty.