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Politics & Government

Judge OKs $18M Settlement in 'Kids For Cash' Case

A federal judge in Pennsylvania has given final approval to a settlement that will pay out nearly $18 million to juveniles who allege they were wrongly jailed by corrupt judges.

The approval granted Friday in Scranton allows attorneys to begin distributing money to about 1,600 teens and their parents.

The funds come from developer Robert K. Mericle (MEHR'-ih-kuhl), who built a pair of for-profit youth detention centers.

Two Luzerne County judges accepted payments from Mericle and routinely jailed teens at the facilities. The judges are now serving lengthy prison terms.

Mericle pleaded guilty to failing to report a felony. He awaits sentencing in the so-called "kids for cash" scandal.

Affected youths will receive between $500 and $5,000. Some will get more based on the circumstances of their incarceration.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.