Society

Kids-For-Cash Defendant Upset Over His Leaked Net Worth

| by Shani Shahmoon

Robert J. Powell used to be rich.

From his $2.6 million private jet, to his $1.3 million yacht named Reel Justice, to his palace -- Powell had it made, Citizens Voice reported.

He supported his life of luxury by bribing county court judges with $770,00 into sending juvenile offenders to his for-profit juvenile detention centers: Mid-Atlantic Youth Services Corp., PA Child Care LLC and Western PA Child Care LLC. When information leaked about the bribery, the lawsuit became known as the Kids-for-Cash case, and over 1,000 victims revealed their stories.

The two judges who were bribed by and conspired with Powell -- Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and Michael T. Conahan -- are facing 28 years and 17-and-a-half years in prison, respectively.

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Robert K. Mericle owned the company who built the for-profit juvenile detention centers. He served a year in prison for failing to report a felony, and settled with the plaintiffs for $17.75 million.

Powell's process for settlement isn't as clean as his fellow accomplices.

The Standard Speaker reported that Powell faced 18 months in prison before reaching a settlement in March 2015. Powell agreed to a payment plan with the 1,100 victims who sued him.

Powell paid the initial payment of $4.75 million in full, while the final payment of $2.75 million is still in question

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This second payment was to be based off of Powell's net worth, which was just released as being in the negative.

The attorneys suing the defendant released that Powell has an estimated worth of negative $5.6 million.

Powell and his attorneys called the release an act of "bad faith" to get the media riled up.

Due to a reported inability to agree on Powell's net worth, the settlement agreement calls for an independent expert, Thomas D. Pratty, to assess the defendant's net worth.

Pratt later filed that Powell and his team were "stonewalling" and delaying the process by rejecting to comply with any requests by the accountant.

There were no set deadlines or timeframe for the assessment.

Therefore, Powell's attorneys were about to argue that because of the open-ended nature of the case, the claims that Powell was purposefully delaying were not accurate.

According to the Times Leader, Pittsburgh attorney Stephen S. Stallings, who represents Powell, said: "The court should refuse to countenance abuse of these proceedings for press coverage and award Mr. Powell his fees in defending this motion."

The defendant has called for another independent assessment of his net worth. 

Sources: Standard Speaker, Citizens Voice, Times Leader / Photo credit: wp paarz/Flickr

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