School Closings & Delays

Audit: Attorney Over Charged Luzerne County

STEVENS

An attorney who allegedly double billed Luzerne County to the tune of $50,000 said she will pay it all back.

Angela Stevens hired an outside firm to do an audit on her bills after it was reported she double billed the county on travel time last year.

The way attorneys are paid by the county will also be changing in hopes that errors like this won’t happen again.

The audit shows Angela Stevens charged Luzerne County too much money in 2011. The money was for travel time while she dropped off legal forms from her office in Kingston to county offices in Wilkes-Barre across the river.

In March, Luzerne County controller Walter Griffith showed Newswatch 16 hundreds of invoices prepared by attorney Stevens. A Times Leader investigation revealed Stevens may have double billed the county and Stevens then paid for a private auditor to prepare a report.

“What she did was she said look, if there is an error in my billing I will identify it and I will make it right.  And she did. She went and paid $37,000 for an audit that would have cost the county $40,000 or more and when the auditor came back and said this is how much you over billed the county she didn’t argue about it,” said Griffith.

Griffith said at no time did Stevens ever dispute the claims against her back in March.

Griffith said the money Stevens spent on the audit will be counted toward paying back the county and uncashed checks totalling more than $30,000 will also count in Stevens favor.

A lawyer at Angela Stevens’ law firm in Kingston said he is thrilled the way the audit is being received by county officials.

Luzerne County will no longer bill attorneys representing indigent parents of children by the hour. The county is now in the process of hiring three lawyers at a flat rate of $25,000 to serve until the end of the year.

Angela Stevens has resigned her position with Luzerne County. She was not available Monday for comment.

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