2008-11-20 / Police Reports

Ivy League Swindler Gets 4 Years In Pa. ID Fraud

By Maryclaire Dale ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - An Ivy League graduate must serve four years in prison for a brazen identity theft scheme that netted him and a glamorous ex-girlfriend more than $100,000 in trips, dinners and luxury goods.

Edward Anderton, 25, of Everett, Wash., earned a one-year break compared to co-defendant Jocelyn Kirsch because she continued to commit crimes after their December arrest. Kirsch, 22, is serving a five-year sentence.

"I need to apologize to Jocelyn because I was a large part of her downfall. And if the two of us wouldn't have met, I don't think there's any chance of it escalating to where it was,'' Anderton told a federal judge Friday. "So I'm sorry to Jocelyn for being a part of her demise.''

The pair admit they stole the identities of friends and neighbors in Philadelphia to help finance a lavish lifestyle, even though Anderton, a business graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, had secured a good first job in finance. As the yearlong scheme went on, they even broke into the apartments of neighbors in their upscale apartment building to steal credit cards and other items.

Travel photos of their enviable trips - released by police - have been widely circulated online. They show the jet-setters sporting matching swimsuits by fancy hotel pools, kissing near the Eiffel Tower and riding horseback on a beach.

A U.S. attorney, after their arrest, called them "poster children'' for identity fraud.

The ensuing court hearings revealed Kirsch to be the troubled product of a bitter marriage between a North Carolina plastic surgeon and a nurse who remarried and moved to California the week Kirsch graduated from high school in Winston- Salem, N.C.,

Kirsch told U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno, who sentenced her last month, that she started shoplifting and acting out in middle school. At Drexel University, she told tales of being an Olympic shot-putter with Lithuanian roots and lavender eyes. The striking eye color came from contact lenses; the other claims proved equally untrue.

Anderton acknowledged Friday that his working class parents sacrificed to send him and a brother to college. His father, Kyle, works two jobs, as a Seattle Times delivery supervisor and at UPS. And he described himself as a disciplined student athlete growing up.

Speaking before a row full of relatives, Anderton called his crimes "atrocious.'' As part of the sentence, he and Kirsch are jointly responsible for more than $100,000 in restitution to the dozens of victims.

Robreno told both defendants that they had enjoyed privilege and promise.

"Due to his parents' hard work and his own, he had every opportunity to succeed, and he did succeed before the unfortunate events that brought him here,'' Robreno said Friday.

He shaved nine months off of Anderton's sentence for his cooperation and guilty plea, similar to the amount he gave Kirsch for her plea. They pleaded guilty to the same six felonies, including aggravated identity theft and money laundering.

Anderton has 45 days to report to prison.

Return to top