Robert Mericle Sentenced

Published 04/25 2014 04:23PM

Updated 04/25 2014 06:40PM

Scranton, Lackawanna County- Luzerne County businessman Robert Mericle said nothing as he left federal court in Scranton on Friday Morning. A judge  sentenced him to one year in a fedral prison and ordered him to pay a $250,000 fine for his role in the Kids for Cash scandal. Mericle admited to paying $2.1 million dollars to former Luzenrne Couty judges Mark Ciavaella and Michael Conahan. Mericle said it was a finders fee for allowing him to build a private detention center in Luzerne County. Ciavalrella sent juveniles there for no good reason.. Mericle pleaed guilty for not telling federal investigators that he knew the judges had not reported the money to the government.   Mericle told the judge..
   "I'm ashamed to be here..I apologize for what I have done. I am here by my own actions I take full responsibility.."

 Defense lawyers had argues that Mericle should get a much lighter sentence because he has been cooperating with authorities in investigations involving Ciavaella, Conahan and former Senator Ray Musto..who died this week. They also argued that Mericle saved the Wyoming Valley with his efforts during the Flood of 2011..

But Judge Edwin Kosik said while that is all well and good he had to go to prison..
  "Your falsehoods are corruption...Your criminal conduct is very very serious. This sentence must show respect for the law and deter future corruption"

Dozens of people jammed the courtroom to show support for Mericle. They had no comment on the way out of court. Two did tell the judge that Mericle's life should not be judge on a mistake..that he's done so much good for the community.

Under the  plea deal Mericle could have faced up to 14 months in prison...His lawyers say they will appeal the sentence. Mericle must surrender to federal authorities on May 14th

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