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Cyber school founder's kin charged

| Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, 11:51 p.m.

Federal prosecutors on Friday charged the sister of the founder of a Beaver County cyber charter school with filing a false tax return.

Elaine Trombetta Neill of Center claimed income on her 2010 tax return that “was properly attributable to a relative” and deducted $90,600 in business expenses for “One 2 One,” which had “almost no legitimate business expenses,” the criminal information says.

Federal prosecutors normally file an information, as opposed to seeking a grand jury indictment, when the defendant has agreed to cooperate with investigators and plead guilty.

The U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment.

There was no number available for Neill.

Her attorney, Jim Ross, declined to comment.

The federal charge says that Neill reported the illegal deductions on a Schedule C, which is the form used for reporting profits or losses from sole proprietorships.

Under Pennsylvania law, people who operate sole proprietorships under some name other than their own have to register the name with the State Department. Neill in 2006 registered the name “one2one Enterprises” with a business address of 611 Owens St., Aliquippa, according to state records.

Nick Trombetta, the founder of Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School in Midland, owned the house at 611 Owens St. until last year, according to Beaver County property records.

Trombetta couldn't be reached for comment.

Federal agents in July served search warrants and subpoenas on the school, the nonprofit National Network of Digital Schools and other sites in Pennsylvania and Ohio tied to the school. The Justice Department released a statement saying the school is not a target of the investigation.

Staff writers Bob Bauder and Bill Vidonic contributed to this report. Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com.

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