Wednesday, December 5, 2007
A MODERN DAY BONNIE AND CLYDE
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December 5, 2007 -- They traveled the world on other people's money.
A stylish young couple from Philadelphia - the privileged children of well-to-do doctors - face years in jail for allegedly pulling off an identity-theft scheme that allowed them to live like jet-setters.
Edward K. Anderton and Jocelyn Kirsch - who have already become known as a 21st century version of Bonnie and Clyde - lived the lifestyle of the rich and famous for the past year.
They bought expensive jewelry and designer clothes, lived in a luxury apartment and vacationed in romantic hot spots around the world.
They went horseback riding along white-sand beaches in Hawaii and the Caribbean. They stayed at resorts where champagne was served in private hot tubs. There were trips to New York, Paris, London and Montreal.
Everything was first class and fabulous.
And all of it was documented in photo after photo.
Anderton, 25, who graduated the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania with a degree in economics, and his 22-year-old gal pal, who studied international relations at Drexel University, were repeatedly photographed smiling and smooching around the world.
Back home, their $3,000-a-month apartment had closets filled with designer clothes.
All of it - police said - was financed through fraud.
"They are parasites," Philadelphia Detective Terry Sweeney told The Post.
"The only thing different about these two is they come from a privileged background and add a bit of sex and glamour."
Sweeney busted the duo Friday for allegedly scamming more than $100,000 through identity theft.
Despite Anderton's Ivy League economics degree, they were anything but criminal masterminds.
They also found $18,000 in cash, a Rolex, dozens of bogus credit cards, phony driver's licenses and keys to some 30 of their neighbors' apartments.
Cops also found a book titled "The Art of Cheating: A Nasty Little Book for Tricky Little Schemers and Their Hapless Victims," along with a newspaper article headlined "How to Spot Fake IDs."
The two allegedly continued their cons until the day of their arrest. Police got tipped off to the grifter lovebirds on Nov. 19 after a neighbor reported her identity was stolen. The next day she was told she had a package waiting for her at a local UPS store.
So cops waited until Anderton and Kirsch went to claim the package - containing high-end lingerie from London - last Friday and nabbed them.
The day before, Kirsch - who was fond of changing the color of her hair and contact lenses every few weeks - used a bogus check to pay for a $2,200 hair-extension treatment, cops said.
Barbara Nocon, the manager of the upscale beauty salon Giovanni & Pileggi, said a young couple with lots of money did not raise her suspicions.
"We get a lot of out-of-town people here, a lot of university students who are clients and have parents who can pay for this," she said. "It's not unusual."
The stylist said that after she left messages on the grifters' cellphone, she got a text message warning, "I know how you get home, you look like a smart girl, you better back off now."
Kirsch, a senior at Drexel, is the daughter of a prominent plastic surgeon in Winston-Salem, NC. She told friends she wanted to be an ambassador.
"I always thought she was a fake person, the person that she presented herself to be wasn't the person she actually was," said classmate Ian Jacobson, 23.
"I'm not surprised by the whole thing. I just feel bad for the people she took advantage of. I hope she gets what's coming to her."
Anderton, originally from Everett, Wash., met Kirsch at a college party last year. Soon after, the two moved in together.
For still-unclear reasons, he was fired this year from his job as an analyst with Lubert-Adler Real Estate Funds. The company did not return calls for comment.
But, to the surprise of friends, the good times never stopped - until last week.
"There is nothing original about [either] of them, absolutely not," Sweeney said. "There is nothing sophisticated about arrogance and greed."
They simply used off-the-shelf scams that anyone could find on the Internet, Sweeney said.
Neither returned calls for comment yesterday.
Sweeney said cops seized four computers, two printers, a scanner and an industrial identification-card-making machine over the weekend from their Rittenhouse Square apartment.