By Ed Pilkington in New York
December 5, 2007
The gallery of photographs told one story: a good-looking couple smiling
to camera in front of the Eiffel Tower, riding horses on a white sand
beach in Hawaii, sporting matching red swimwear in a luxury seaside
When police officers searched the Philadelphia flat of Jocelyn Kirsch
and Edward Anderton they uncovered a different story. They found four
computers, a scanner, two printers and a machine that makes identity
cards - the equipment needed to support what detectives now believe was
a two-year, $100,000 (49,000) spending spree funded largely by fraud.
On Friday the couple were charged with identity fraud, forgery and a
host of other counts.
The police investigation began last month after the couple's neighbour
complained that her identity had been stolen. The neighbour said she had
been told to pick up a package at a nearby delivery station even though
she had ordered nothing, and police watched as Kirsch and Anderton
picked up the package, which turned out to be luxury lingerie from
Piecing together events, detectives now allege that the couple, who were
both privately educated at good schools and colleges, cheated several
people in their apartment building.
"They were like a parasite that infected that building," Detective Terry
Sweeney told the Associated Press.
"They were two young people that were given many gifts in life. And the
very best thing they could do was victimise other people."
In their flat they had fake drivers' licences, numerous credit cards and
keys to the apartments and postal boxes of neighbours. There was also
$18,000 in cash, and a copy of The Art of Cheating: A Nasty Little Book
for Tricky Little Schemers and Their Hapless Victims .
Their travels took them to Paris, London, Hawaii and the Turks & Caicos
Islands. Kirsch, 22, a student at Drexel University in Philadelphia,
treated herself to a $2,200 hair extension using a false cheque.
Anderton, aged 25, a graduate of the Ivy League University of
Pennsylvania, was recently sacked from a job as a financial analyst,
though the reasons for his dismissal were unclear.
So far police say they have found five victims of the couple's
activities, one of who was stung for $30,000.
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