WILKES-BARRE — With court approval pending for a $2.5 million settlement in the “Kids for Cash” scandal, a deadline for participating or opting out of the agreement has been set for Jan. 21.
Three private, for-profit companies involved in the scandal have agreed to pay into the class-action settlement, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
The court has set a hearing for June 10, 2014, on whether to approve the deal involving PA Child Care LLC, Western PA Child Care LLC and Mid-Atlantic Youth Services Corp. They have not admitted wrongdoing and entered the deal to end the litigation against them.
The settlement applies to juveniles and their parents or guardians who appeared before former Luzerne County Judge Mark A. Ciavarella between Jan. 1, 2003, and May 28, 2008. To be eligible juveniles had to be adjudicated delinquent and/or placed in a detention center by Ciavarella.
Likewise, parents or guardians who made payments in their own name as a result of the adjudication or placement and who did not receive full compensation from the separate Mericle settlement are eligible.
Ciavarella and former county Judge Michael Conahan had been charged with participating in a $2.6 million kickback scheme related to the construction of two juvenile detention centers and placement of youths in the facilities. PA Child Care LLC operated a center in Pittston Township. Western PA Child Care LLC operated a center in Butler County.
The former judges are serving lengthy federal prison sentences for their convictions on charges related to the scheme.
Class-action and individual suits are still pending against Ciavarella and Conahan and Robert Powell and his company Vision Holdings LLC. Powell was a former co-owner of the detention centers built by developer Robert Mericle.
Powell and Mericle admitted to paying the former judges as part of the scheme. Mericle is awaiting sentencing. Powell completed his 18-month prison sentence earlier this year.