State seeks $4.3 M from Conahan, Ciavarella

Originally published 2:20 p.m.

The state is seeking $4.3 million from disgraced former judges Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and Michael T. Conahan, who have pleaded guilty to accepting $2.6 million in kickbacks in connection with Luzerne County juvenile detention contracts.

In a letter advising state legislators that the two former judges will be denied pension benefits, Nicholas J. Maiale, the chairman of the State Employees’ Retirement System, revealed that the state Department of Public Welfare has filed a claim with the system seeking to seize their pension benefits.

Read the letter

The department subsidizes counties’ juvenile detention costs.

Conahan withdrew about $300,000 that he contributed to the system over the years when he retired in January 2008 and has received a  $8,073 monthly pension benefit since then. Conahan received his last payment in April and the state will seek to recover payments made after he and Ciavarella pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracycharges in February.

Ciavarella applied for a lump-sum payment of his contributions of $234,000 and his $5,150 monthly benefits in March, but no payments were ever made, Maiale’s letter says.

The former judges face 87 months in prison in the kickbacks case.

Read more in tomorrow's edition of The Citizens' Voice.

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