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Keyword: countyofcorruption

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  • Broke Ciavarella declared destitute by federal judge (Kids for Cash)

    08/24/2011 7:51:53 PM PDT · by Born Conservative · 8 replies
    Citizens Voice (Wilkes Barre PA) ^ | 8/24/2011 | Michael Sisak
    It's official: He's broke. A federal judge Tuesday declared former Luzerne County Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. a legal pauper, allowing him to proceed with an appeal of his corruption conviction without having to pay filing fees and other court costs. The ruling, from U.S. District Judge Edwin M. Kosik, came a day after Ciavarella filed a handwritten financial disclosure form listing his last day of employment as Aug. 8 - just days before his sentencing - and his estimated income as $2,500 per month. Kosik sentenced Ciavarella on Aug. 11 to 28 years in prison after his conviction in...
  • Ex-judge Ciavarella angry, defiant at sentencing

    08/13/2011 5:07:38 AM PDT · by Born Conservative · 21 replies
    Citizens Voice (Wilkes Barre PA) ^ | 8/12/11 | Dave Janoski
    SCRANTON - At first, it was a seemingly chastened Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. who stood at a podium Thursday to address the court. The former Luzerne County judge apologized to his family, to the county bench and bar, to the juvenile probation officers who worked in his courtroom. Reading from a prepared statement, he asked the people of Luzerne County to forgive him for "violating the trust they placed in me" and told the juvenile offenders who appeared in his court that he had shown himself to be a "hypocrite by not practicing what I preached." Then Ciavarella's statement took...

    08/11/2011 5:19:49 PM PDT · by Born Conservative · 31 replies
    Citizens Voice (Wilkes Barre PA) ^ | 8/11/11 | STAFF REPORTS
    A defiant Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. was sentenced to 28 years in prison and ordered to pay $965,000 in restitution this morning after reading a statement to the court in which he denied trading "kids for cash." "Those three words made me the personification of evil. They made me the devil. They made me the anti-Christ. They made me toxic," Ciavarella told U.S. District Judge Edwin M. Kosik. Ciavarella, 61, was taken into federal custody following the sentencing. Ciavarella, while admitting to tax charges and fraud for taking nearly $1 million from the builder of a for-profit detention center, forcefully...
  • Jury picking begins today in Ciavarella trial (Kids for Cash Judge)

    02/07/2011 2:45:49 PM PST · by Born Conservative · 8 replies
    Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre PA) ^ | 2/7/2011 | Terrie Morgan-Besecker
    SCRANTON – Prosecutors and defense attorneys in the corruption trial of former Judge Mark Ciavarella will begin questioning a pool of 95 potential jurors this morning in hopes of finding a panel of 12 jurors and four alternates. Jury selection is set to begin at 8:30 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Edwin Kosik in the federal courthouse in Scranton. Attorneys in the case have estimated the process will take at least a week, possibly longer. Ciavarella’s attorneys, Al Flora and William Ruzzo, had requested that each juror be questioned individually, arguing it would allow attorneys a better opportunity to detect...
  • Conahan might testify against fellow ex-judge (Kids for Cash judges)

    10/28/2010 9:06:08 PM PDT · by Born Conservative · 8 replies
    Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre PA) ^ | 10/28/2010 | Terrie Morgan-Besecker
    SCRANTON – Former Luzerne County Judge Michael Conahan is willing to testify at the corruption trial of his one-time co-defendant, Mark Ciavarella – a decision federal law experts say could help reduce the potentially lengthy sentence Conahan is facing for his role in the scheme. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Zubrod identified Conahan as a “potential” witness during a pre-trial conference held before U.S. District Judge Edwin Kosik on Aug. 5, according to a transcript of the proceeding. The transcript, publicly filed on Friday, also reveals that one of Ciavarella’s attorneys, William Ruzzo, has asked the court to pay his legal...
  • Skrep gets prison in W. Virginia

    09/17/2010 3:43:41 AM PDT · by Born Conservative · 2 replies
    Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre PA) ^ | 9/17/2010 | Jerry Lynott
    Former Luzerne County commissioner Greg Skrepenak reported to a federal prison in West Virginia on Thursday to begin serving a two-year sentence. A Bureau of Prisons spokesman said Skrepenak is an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution at Beckley. Skrepenak, 40, of Jenkins Township, was charged with accepting a $5,000 kickback from an area real estate developer in return for supporting the developer’s acceptance into a program that delays payment of real estate taxes to allow the money to pay for infrastructure. The former National Football League lineman and standout at the University of Michigan pleaded guilty to a felony...
  • Skrepenak surprised by 2 year sentence, fine (felon, ex-NFL lineman)

    08/06/2010 12:34:27 PM PDT · by Born Conservative · 12 replies
    Times Leader (Wilkes Barre, PA) ^ | 8/6/2010 | Terrie Morgan-Besecker
    UPDATED 2:40 Former Luzerne County commissioner Greg Skrepenak said he was surprised a federal judge sentenced him to 24 months in prison. "I'm not too happy about the sentence. I think it's pretty severe. But it's what the judge thought. It's what the people wanted. I can accept that, God willing, and will move on," Skrepenak said, speaking outside the federal courthouse in Scranton. Skrepenak said the care of his children is his main concern because some of his family members are getting older with health ailments. He said he is considering appealing the sentence. If not, he said he...
  • Single-dad Skrepenak asks judge for break (ex-NFL lineman, admitted felon)

    08/04/2010 4:34:59 PM PDT · by Born Conservative · 6 replies
    Citizens Voice (Wilkes Barre PA) ^ | 8/4/2010 | Dave Janoski
    SCRANTON - Former Luzerne County Commissioner and single father Greg Skrepenak's "unparalleled devotion" to his three minor children should win him a reduced sentence on the corruption charge that drove him from office, his attorney argued in a motion filed Tuesday. Skrepenak, 40, faces a likely prison sentence of 33 to 41 months under federal sentencing guidelines when he appears before U.S. District Judge Richard P. Conaboy on Friday. But the defense motion argues Skrepenak's status as a single father of three children aged 11, 13 and 15 warrants a lesser sentence. Skrepenak's ex-wife, Carrie, suffers from severe drug addiction...
  • Feds search Musto home (PA State Senator)

    04/09/2010 4:03:02 AM PDT · by Born Conservative · 10 replies · 596+ views
    Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre PA) ^ | 4/9/10 | Jerry Lynott
    Longtime state legislator says he’s in dark PITTSTON TWP. – FBI agents searched the home of state Sen. Ray Musto Thursday afternoon and left the senior lawmaker wondering what they were looking for during their two-hour stay. “I haven’t been told and I’m sure I’m not a target in any way,” said Musto after the agents left. Special Agent J.J. Klaver in the FBI’s Philadelphia office declined comment. The 81-year-old Democrat cast off the scrutiny from the 10 agents who converged on his home as the price he has to pay for being in office for nearly 40 years. “It’s...
  • FBI search Sen. Musto's home, seize satellite radio (retiring PA state senator)

    04/08/2010 7:06:17 PM PDT · by Born Conservative · 9 replies · 1,023+ views
    Citizens Voice (Wilkes Barre PA) ^ | 4/8/10 | MICHAEL R. SISAK AND DAVE JANOSKI
    Federal agents spent three hours searching the Pittston Township home of state Sen. Raphael Musto today, removing a satellite radio and other items from two vehicles after taking photographs. Musto theorized the agents, who were armed with a search warrant, might have been acting on information provided to them as part of a wide-ranging public corruption probe that has led to nearly 30 arrests in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties since January 2009. The 81-year-old Democrat said today was his first contact with federal agents. He said he did not ask them the reason for the search, telling them: “You have...
  • Skrepenak pleads guilty to bribery charge (former NFL lineman)

    01/26/2010 6:51:16 PM PST · by Born Conservative · 4 replies · 274+ views
    Citizens Voice (Wilkes Barre PA) ^ | 1/26/10 | Michael Sisak
    Former Luzerne County Commissioner Greg Skrepenak pleaded guilty today in federal court to accepting multiple payoffs from a developer who obtained a government-subsidized loan through a county authority. Skrepenak, 39, pleaded guilty to accepting $5,000 for voting to approve the $1.1 million loan, which The Citizens’ Voice has tied to the Insignia Point Courtyards project in Jenkins Township. Insignia Point Courtyard was developed by Anthony J. Trombetta, the president of Intellacom Inc., a technology company whose dealings with two local school districts, a career and technical center, and the county’s community college are under scrutiny from federal investigators. Skrepenak, the...
  • Former sheriff defends gun sale (2 submachine guns)

    01/26/2010 6:44:44 PM PST · by Born Conservative · 17 replies · 1,057+ views
    Citizens Voice (Wilkes Barre PA) ^ | 1/26/10 | Michael Buffer
    WILKES-BARRE - The Luzerne County Sheriff's Office in recent years has sold about 20 guns, some to deputy sheriffs and one to former Sheriff Michael Savokinas, Solicitor Vito DeLuca said Monday. DeLuca said he has started an investigation of the gun sales in response to learning that Savokinas improperly agreed to sell a Thompson submachine gun, known as a Tommy gun, for $20,000 in August 2009. DeLuca said only county commissioners can approve sales of property, including firearms issued to the sheriff's office. Savokinas on Monday said administration officials knew the sheriff's office sold guns because a line item in...
  • Savokinas OK'd sale of county submachine gun (Luzerne County, PA)

    01/26/2010 6:37:06 PM PST · by Born Conservative · 7 replies · 469+ views
    Citizens Voice (Wilkes Barre PA) ^ | 1/23/10 | Michael Buffer
    Luzerne County Commissioner Chairwoman Maryanne Petrilla said Friday she is "outraged" that former Sheriff Michael Savokinas agreed to sell a county firearm, an antique Thompson submachine gun, for $22,500 in August 2009. "I am just astounded at the audacity to just go out and sell taxpayer property without going through proper county procedures," Petrilla said. "I understand it could be worth up to $40,000. ... It looks like a back-door deal." The Model 1928 weapon, informally known as a Tommy gun, and another Thompson submachine gun were transferred from the county prison to the sheriff's department sometime in the 1980s,...
  • Ciavarella decision sparks new lawsuit (sentence based on number of birds on window ledge)

    12/30/2009 8:04:54 PM PST · by Born Conservative · 10 replies · 538+ views
    Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre PA) ^ | 12/29/2009 | Rory Sweeney
    A White Haven man and his parents believe he, too, was sentenced unjustly as a youth several years ago in the alleged “kids for cash” scandal. They filed on Monday a lawsuit against a slew of familiar defendants. Raul Clark, now 21, was a 14-year-old Coughlin High School freshman in 2002 when he was arrested on misdemeanor charges of violating curfew and drug-paraphernalia possession. He was sentenced by former county Judge Mark Ciavarella to six months’ detention and was forced to face several other hardships of the legal system unjustly, the lawsuit contends. The lawsuit contends Clark’s rights under the...
  • TOP STORY 2009: Faces of Corruption (Luzerne County PA-23 cases by Fed Prosecutors)

    12/27/2009 8:22:42 PM PST · by Born Conservative · 5 replies · 539+ views
    Citizens Voice (Wilkes Barre PA) ^ | 12/27/09 | Dave Janoski
    The 23 criminal cases filed by federal prosecutors since January fall into three main categories, the courts, the schools and county government. The school and government cases largely involve business owners who paid cash or made gifts to public officials who supported their efforts to secure government contracts awarded without competitive bidding. State law allows no-bid contracts for certain services and under some circumstances. While two former judges accused of taking payoffs for jailing juveniles in for-profit detention centers face trial on 48 counts that carry maximum sentences of decades in prison, most of the other defendants face sentences ranging...
  • County braces for trouble over Judge Toole’s cases (still worked after signing guilty plea)

    12/04/2009 6:10:51 AM PST · by Born Conservative · 2 replies · 308+ views
    Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre PA) ^ | 12/4/2009 | Mark Guydish
    WILKES-BARRE – In a courthouse still struggling with the fallout from the juvenile justice scandal that cast doubt on thousands of rulings by ex-judge Mark Ciavarella, the fact that Judge Michael Toole continued adjudicating for weeks after signing a plea agreement on corruption charges sits like a ticking time bomb with a potential no one can predict. “I just can’t really comment,” Luzerne County Chief Public Defender Basil Russin said Thursday, “We’ve got to figure out what happens next. It may be nothing, it may be something vital.” “Certainly, any defense attorney can make any motion they like,” District Attorney...
  • CORRUPTION SCANDAL WHO’S WHO (Kids for Cash, The County of Corruption-Luzerne Co., PA)

    10/25/2009 6:56:06 PM PDT · by Born Conservative · 10 replies · 888+ views
    MARK CIAVARELLA, of Kingston, the former president judge of the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas, was charged on Jan. 26 with accepting $2.6 million from private individuals in exchange for rulings that benefited two juvenile detention centers the county utilized. He pleaded guilty, but the plea agreement was rejected by a judge. A grand jury issued a 48-count indictment against him on Sept. 9. He is awaiting trial. MICHAEL CONAHAN, of Wright Township, a former senior judge on the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas, was charged on Jan. 26 with accepting $2.6 million from private individuals in exchange...