Guilty plea in ID theft that fueled lavish life

Edward K. Anderton
Edward K. Anderton walks toward the federal building in Philadelphia on Monday.Matt Rourke / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

A handsome, athletic Ivy League graduate admitted in court Monday that he and a girlfriend stole the identities of friends, co-workers and neighbors to finance their luxury lifestyle.

As his grim-faced parents looked on, Edward K. Anderton, 25, of Everett, Wash., admitted to federal identity theft charges that likely carry a five-year prison sentence.

His ex-girlfriend, 22-year-old Jocelyn Kirsch, is expected to enter a similar plea on Thursday. A federal prosecutor called the pair “the poster children for identity fraud” after police released their travel photos, which show them enjoying lavish trips to the Caribbean, Paris and Hawaii.

Anderton said little in court as prosecutors detailed the crimes against more than a dozen victims. He pleaded guilty to six counts, including bank fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft.

The pair deployed an increasingly sophisticated set of schemes to obtain more than $116,000 in goods and services and tried to obtain at least another $122,000 more, Assistant U.S. Attorney Louis Lappen said.

“They created layers of transactions that further distanced themselves from the fraud activities,” Lappen said.

Anderton, a swimmer and economics graduate of the University of Pennsylvania who was earning about $60,000 in a finance job, has been working a $10-an-hour construction job since his Nov. 30 arrest by Philadelphia police. He will remain free on bail pending his scheduled Aug. 29 sentencing.

Kirsch, a former Drexel University student, has been on house arrest since last week, when federal authorities alleged that she had again stolen someone’s credit card while awaiting her plea.

Anderton’s lawyer, Larry Krasner, declined to comment about the plea deal.