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Former Family Court Attorney Pleads Guilty

Posted on: 3:14 pm, December 16, 2013, by , updated on: 03:06pm, December 16, 2013

WILKES-BARRE — On her way to federal court in Wilkes-Barre, Danielle Ross and her attorney were confronted by Bruce Levine.

“Don’t touch me, don’t tell me what to do. Get your hands off me,” shouted Levine as he brushed up against lawyer David Solfanelli.

Levine is one of several parents in Lackawanna County who claimed that some of Ross’ custody recommendations in family court cases were biased.

“She is just the tip of the iceberg, the story needs to be told,” said Levine outside the federal courthouse.

For almost five years, Ross was paid to represent the interests of children in custody cases in Lackawanna County, then make custody recommendations to family court.

Lackawanna County paid Ross $38,000 a year in base salary. She also received an additional $50 an hour paid for by parents, or by the county if parents could not afford the services.

Federal prosecutors said Ross did not report more than $200,000 from the hourly billings on her federal income taxes.

And more than 10 months after she claimed she was innocent of federal tax charges, Ross changed course, and pleaded guilty to a single count of attempted tax evasion.

“After reviewing everything, Miss Ross has taken responsibility has taken responsibility for her acts of omissions, and looking forward to getting this part of her life behind her, and moving on,” said Solfanelli.

The investigation started in 2011, when FBI agents seized Ross’ billing records from her office in the Lackawanna County Courthouse Annex.

Ross’ charges stem from failing to pay taxes, not her recommendations in custody cases.

“If it’s tax charges and she gets imprisonment and she gets a lot of money, restitution she has to pay, that’s a good start,” said Levine.

In the past two years, two family court clerks and Lackawanna County Court Chief Judge James Munley were called before a federal grand jury investigating the Lackawanna family court system.

Sources tell Newswatch 16 that Judge Munley and the clerks were not the targets of the investigation.  Ross is the only one who has been charged.

The plea agreement calls for Danielle Ross to pay restitution that could amount to $80,000.

Ross is scheduled to be sentenced in April.

The maximum sentence for her crime is five years, but her lawyer says he plans to ask that Ross avoid any time in federal prison.

16 comments

  • Joann says:

    I know she is being charged and its a start. But what about the real story here? How she caused so many families unnecessary pain.
    And she is not the only one! Not all, but some other GALs have overstepped their roles and caused financial hardships on parents. Made parents feel like criminals because they were getting divorced. Picked sides of the parent they personally liked better and made assumptions about the other without any knowledge of truth! Of course people getting divorce don’t always agree and can’t along. That’s why they’re getting divorced!! Is that any reason to assign these attorneys to decide they can run the parents lives? Go as far as to forbid parents from communicating with one another. I think some marriages may have been saved if it weren’t for their interference. The entire GAL program is a violation of ones rights.

  • kathy evans says:

    Not just in Lacawana ,but in Luzerne county. I myself had issues with C&Y.Mine is about my grandchildren. My Lawyer lost my case. Iept all my records. And showed them to other lawyers. Im not rich. Yet I paid for a Guardian At Liediem.And her first review was in total favor of me. STRONG favor. I had a personel battle with C&Y. The judge never recieved the letter. And we needed a new one .The judge had the same guardian review us. As I walked in her office she made a statement (not sure of how worded) meaning I thought I was going to win. I had no idea what she was talking about. She said she didnt care about anybody,at the end of the week she was going to do her own F–kin thing. She still was able to go to dinner and on a beach,wherever. Still I was thinking ? Finally She lets me know my sister and I wanted to start trouble and it wasnt going to happen with a snicker. I found out she worked for Children and Youth as their Lawyer. I didnt know this. But her second letter shot me down. I believe to this day My lawyer the other Lawyer and this Guardian all worked together. As well as things that were said to us was disgusting.From the other Lawyer. I found out after doing research I wasnt alone.I tried to get the papers to do a story on this with all of us moms. And the guy from citizen voice, told us he was not going to be able to. It wasnt permitted . Say what? There are pages on line you can listen to the heartbreaks of people who had to deal with these people. And if you think for one minute that people dont get in tuch with them your wrong. Come see my papers and my ignored pleas of help.I have all kinds of witnesses. Good people. Cant blame this woman for not goingfor help. But blame the dam mother for choosing an idiot over her kids!

  • DESIREAH DAVIS MAINE says:

    LOCK HER UP AND THROW AWAY THE KEYS PEOPLE LIKE THIS WHO LIES TO GAIN PROFIT FROM OUR CHILDREN ARE JUST AS BAD FOR OUR CHILDREN AS A SEX OFFENDER THEY DO NO GOOD TO OUR CHILDREN THEY BRING THEM HARM AND DESTROY INNOCENT SOULS OF OUR BELOVED CHILDREN AND DESTROY THE SANCTITY OF THERE HOMES AND FAMILIES WE NEED TO STOP THIS THREW OUT THE WORLD SO MANY CHILDREN AND FAMILIES ARE BEING DESTROY FOR PROFIT AND GAIN FOR THE AGENCIES AND GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS INVOLVED LEAVE OUR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES ALONE

  • Jenn says:

    wow this woman not only stole thousands of dollars from people whom are not going to b paid back myself included but she has also destroyed households. she cared about no one but herself n she is the person in charge of our precious children. she is a despicable human being and deserves a lot of jail time.

  • Bruce Levine says:

    Max sentence!!!!!!

  • elrey says:

    Hillsborough county Florida has corruption that would be a gamechanger if investigated for children and families

  • What about the families she destroyed for profit? Will they ever get to put this behind them and move on? NOPE! But she does!

  • This is unfortunately not a unique case – this is happening nationwide and deserves federal investigation.

  • Alimony poor says:

    Lawyers covering for lawyers

  • If only we could have IRS Audits of EVERY SINGLE “asst” Attorney General in Virginia working for the largest criminal enterprise in history: office of child support enforcement COLLECTIONS. This federally- funded state-managed agency has NEVER been audited, yet its state/county “lawyers” jail over 100,000 a year for UNVERIFIED, alleged claims of “debt” that isn’t even owed to the state by filing federal claims of “debt” under children’s social security ACCOUNTS.

  • tonycinco says:

    restitution should be made to the families she screwed over, speaking as one of them. if she even pays the restitution no one will ever see where it really goes. likely in the pockets of her cohorts to keep her out of jail time.

  • Bill says:

    Moyle is unfair when it comes to a man infront of her she should not be allowed on the bench!!!! I hope she gets tossed like Ross!!! She ripping good fathers from there children it’s all who you know these days and is not fair. I’d love to know the amount of fathers she’s ruled in favor of.

  • Bill says:

    Moyle is even more to blame she allowed my daughter to be in a heroin addict household with tons of violence and never even sent children and youth there. Allowed to be lied to several times by my ex I’ve done nothing and I’m only allowed supervised visitation.

  • CR Woron says:

    The only justice will be to send Ross to Jail. Write letters to the judge encouraging the maximum sentence including jail time. What is sad is people like Munley, Harhut, Corbet, and Moyle all knew what was going on and did nothing. They are all just as guilty if not more.

  • fdfadsf says:

    she’s charged with and plead guilty to TAX EVASION. a GRAND Jury found lack of evidence in misrepresentation charges. How people put these two things together is beyond me.. Restitution? Do you people honestly believe the restitution is going to families she allegedly wronged?.. NO … the restitution is going to the government for the money they did not receive.

  • SargeantE5 says:

    Restituion only? What a joke. She sould have to pay restitution and jail time.

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