SCRANTON — An attorney who is supposed to look out for childrens’ welfare in custody cases in Lackawanna County is now charged with tax evasion and filing false federal income tax returns.
Danielle Ross of Jermyn, Lackawanna County’s Guardian Ad Litem, faces up to six years in prison if convicted.
The investigation into attorney the attorney’s activities began in 2011.
FBI agents executed a subpoena and removed Ross` billing records from the Lackawanna County court annex where the Guardian Ad Litem’s Office is located.
Several divorced parents in that program claimed Ross billed them excessively for work she never did.
In her job as Guardian Ad Litem, Danielle Ross represented the interest of children often caught in bitter custody cases.
It was up to Ross to make recommendations on custody and visitation, and for her services, she was able to bill one or both parents.
But Ross is charged with tax fraud.
As prosecutors say she did not report income from those individual billings.
Court papers say Ross only listed her $38,000 base salary on her 2009, and 2010 federal tax returns.
A Honesdale man who says he talked to Federal Investigators in the case also filed suit against Ross.
In court papers, he claimed Ross charged him more than nine thousand dollars over two years: money that wasn’t part of her base pay.
A Dunmore woman who says she was questioned by federal agents, told Newswatch 16, a case worker in Ross` office billed for more than triple the posted rate for a supervised visit with her son.
The woman, who did not wish to be identified to protect the identity of her child, said the case worker insisted she pay in cash.
“‘I didn`t get any receipts no, I tried very hard,” said the woman as for the case worker: “She said the county knows how much you`re paying.”
Right now Ross remains on her job, any changes in her status would come from Family Court Judge Trish Corbett.
Neither Ross nor Judge Corbett were at work and could not be reached for comment.