Philadelphia, PA–Jocelyn Kirsch and Edward Anderton, former residents of Center City, were formerly charged by the federal government of the United States on Monday, May 12, 2008, with robbing people of at least $119,000 in cash and goods and attempting to rob an additional $112,000 using the identity theft of at least 16 people including friends, neighbors, co-workers, and total strangers.
The allegations are that over the course of a full year, the pair of thieves, after having stolen someone’s identity, would put on disguises so as to be unrecognizable when they went to ATMs or through drive-through windows to withdraw money from bank accounts that they had created in the names of those whose identities they had stolen. They had also created authentic-looking fake ID cards and drivers’ licenses.
Also among the materials that the police found in the pair’s apartment was a book titled The Art of Cheating: A Nasty Little Book for Tricky Little Schemers and Their Hapless Victims.
The Philadelphia Daily News wasted no time in naming the unfairly good-looking pair, whose sometimes rather racy vacation pictures also recovered and got published, the "Bonnie and Clyde"of identity fraud.
"Their year of living dangerously has caught up with them now," says U.S. Attorney Meehan.
The state of Pennsylvania has dropped its criminal charges against Kirsch and Anderton so as to allow the federal government’s charges to stand as the accusation on which the trial and probable sentencing would depend.
Kirsch, 22, was supposed to be graduating from Philadelphia’s prestigious Drexel University this year. Anderton, 25, graduated from another prestigious Ivy League area university, the U. of Penn, in 2005.
The pair were arrested in December of 2007 after living in a $3000-a-month Rittenhouse Square apartment and traveling to hot vacation spots around the globe.
Ronald Greenblatt and Larry Krasner, defense attorneys for Kirsch and Anderton, respectively, have told the Associated Press that their clients have each signed plea bargains with the feds.
Kirsch and Anderton got caught when one of their neighbors became suspicious after being notified that she had a never-ordered UPS package waiting for her from a retailer in Great Britain. She suspected it was identity theft and called the police, who then lay in wait for the thieves at the UPS location the neighbor was directed to.
People have generally been outraged and disgusted by the couple’s deeds, and they have not been sympathetic.
Wrote Daniel McQuade at his Philadelphia Will Do blog:
Sadly, though, Kirsch’s lawyer has said she has reached a plea agreement, preventing us from witnessing the hilarity of a trial. But I suppose it’s good for her and her family or whatever.