SCRANTON — The pace of paying off the $1.1 million restitution by former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella has been slow, and it’ s likely to stay that way with the federal government’s latest effort to seize property supposedly belonging to him.
The clerk’s office in the U.S. Middle District Court of Pennsylvania issued a writ of execution Friday, ordering the U.S. Marshals Service to go after two accounts held by the state Treasury Department as unclaimed property.
The department said there are two utility company refunds totalling $19.55 to a Mark Ciavarella, but it could not verify that it was the former judge.
Ciavarella, 63, began serving a 28-year sentence in federal prison in 2011 following his conviction earlier that year on corruption-related charges in the “Kids for Cash” juvenile justice scandal. He is held at the Federal Correctional Institution in Pekin, Ill. and has a release date of Dec. 30,2035.
He and former county Judge Michael Conahan were indicted in 2009 on charges they participated in a $2.8 million kickback scheme related to the construction of the PA Child Care facility in Pittston Township and the Western PA Child Care Center in Butler County and the placement of youths in the facilities.
Conahan, 61, pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and was sentenced to 17 1/2 years in prison. He is held at Coleman Low Federal Correctional Institution in Florida with a release date of Dec. 18, 2026.
Last May a three-member panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated one of the 12 guilty counts from Ciavarella’s February 2011 trial and ordered his $1,200 fine reduced by $100. But the panel let stand his conviction.
At the time of Ciavarella’s sentencing in August 2011, he was ordered to pay $1,174,991 in restitution. He has a balance of $1,127,191, according to the writ.