Judges Mark Ciavarella Jr., 58, and Michael Conahan, 56, of Luzerene County, Pa., have pleaded guilty to an elaborate kickback scheme in which they accepted $2.6 million in dirty money to boost profits at a juvenile detention center with rigged sentences for teens. Now authorities are trying to figure out just how they pulled off such a blatantly criminal scheme long enough to collect $2.6 million and sentence thousands of juveniles. The New York Times reports the two judges relied on fear to silence the obvious questions about their extreme preference for incarceration in their cases. “They were unstoppable,” Judge Chester Muroski, who was transferred to another court by Judge Conahan after raising a red flag on detention costs, told The Times. “I knew something was wrong, but they silenced all dissent.” The pair of corrupt judges hid their kickbacks by buying a $785,000 condominium together and faking rent and fees to cover the income.
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