News and Press Releases
September 29, 2010

MARK CIAVARELLA, FORMER LUZERNE COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS JUDGE INDICTED ON RACKETEERING, FRAUD, MONEY LAUNDERING,
TAX AND RELATED CHARGES

    The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that a federal grand jury sitting in Harrisburg has returned a 39-count Superseding Indictment charging former Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas judge Mark A. Ciavarella, Jr. with racketeering and related charges in connection with alleged improper actions to facilitate the construction and operation of juvenile detention facilities owned by PA Child Care, LLC and Western PA Child Care, LLC.

    United States Attorney Peter J. Smith stated that Ciavarella had previously been indicted on the same charges. The Superseding Indictment was presented due to changes in the application of the Federal Honest Services statute resulting from a recent Supreme Court ruling.

    The indictment alleges that Ciavarella and co-conspirator, Michael Conahan, engaged in racketeering, fraud, money laundering, extortion, bribery, and federal tax violations and that they received millions of dollars in illegal payments. The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of at least $2,819,500 which is alleged to be the proceeds of the charged criminal activity.

    This indictment was part of the on-going public corruption investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and by Criminal Investigations of the Internal Revenue Service.

    Anyone with information concerning the investigation is asked to call the public corruption task force toll free at 1-855-789-1868. The United States Attorney’s Office also has a link on its website to view information regarding the public corruption investigations.

    This case is being prosecuted by a team of federal prosecutors led by Senior Litigation Counsel Gordon Zubrod and includes Assistant U.S. Attorneys William Houser, Michael Consiglio, Amy Phillips and Criminal Division Chief Christian Fisanick.

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An Indictment or Information is not evidence of guilt but simply a description of the charge made by the Grand Jury and/or United States Attorney against a defendant. A charged Defendant is presumed innocent until a jury returns a unanimous finding that the United States has proven the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt or until the defendant has pled guilty to the charges.

Peter J. Smith
U.S. Attorney
(717) 221-4482

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