Snohomish High grad and girlfriend hoping for plea deal in ID-theft scam, attorney says
Classmates at Snohomish High School remember Edward Anderton as the kind of kid who might end up in politics. He earned high marks in honors...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Classmates at Snohomish High School remember Edward Anderton as the kind of kid who might end up in politics.
He earned high marks in honors classes, was a star athlete, played in the school band and was elected to student government. His knack for smooth talk was matched only by his ambition, say those who knew him.
Police and prosecutors in Philadelphia now say Anderton's desire for the good life prompted him and his girlfriend to fund a lavish lifestyle of high-priced meals, posh vacations and a cache of expensive toys by an extensive identity-theft scheme that targeted neighbors in their affluent apartment building.
Anderton, 25, and his girlfriend, Jocelyn Kirsch, 22, surrendered to Philadelphia police on Wednesday to face additional charges resulting from the alleged scheme that authorities say netted an estimated $100,000 this year alone. They had been released on bond after being charged on Friday with crimes including identity theft, forgery and unlawful use of a computer.
"They were two young people that were given many gifts in life," said Detective Terry Sweeney, who spoke of the couple's supportive families and private schooling. "And the very best thing they could do was victimize other people."
A defense attorney said today that they are hoping to negotiate a plea deal and turn their lives around.
Ronald Greenblatt, Kirsch's attorney, said the two will likely enter plea negotiations together.
"From the information I have, they're both responsible for this," he said. "For either one to be pointing the finger at the other just belies the evidence in the case."
Bail for Anderton and Kirsch was increased today after prosecutors said the two were being kicked out of their apartment and had no current fixed address. Kirsch's bail was set at $105,000 and Anderton's at $130,000. A preliminary hearing scheduled for this morning was postponed.
The two were still in custody this morning after being arraigned on the newest charges.
Anderton is a 2001 graduate of Snohomish High and a 2005 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a degree in economics. Kirsch is a business major at Drexel University in Philadelphia, according to The Associated Press.
Police started investigating the couple on Nov. 19 after one of their neighbors reported unauthorized credit-card charges. A day later, the woman heard from a local UPS store about a waiting package, although she had not ordered anything.
Police kept an eye on the store and arrested Anderton and Kirsch on Friday when they came to pick up the package, detectives said.
A search of the couple's $3,000-a-month apartment turned up a variety of tech toys: four computers, two printers, a scanner and an industrial machine that makes identity cards. Police also found $17,500 in cash, dozens of credit cards and fake driver's licenses, and keys to unlock many of the apartments and mailboxes in the couple's upscale Rittenhouse Square apartment building. Police are not sure how they got the keys.
The search also turned up a book titled "The Art of Cheating: A Nasty Little Book for Tricky Little Schemers and Their Hapless Victims," as well as a newspaper article on "How to Spot Fake IDs."
Police said they believe the scheme dates back at least two years and involves victims beyond the apartment complex.
Anderton grew up northeast of Mill Creek, in unincorporated Snohomish County. He was a member of the Mill Creek Swim Club and a star swimmer at Snohomish High, where he was named The Seattle Times' "Star of the Month" in February 2000.
His brief biography in The Times' article reflected the usual teen priorities: He enjoyed MTV "because I can see how others dance"; he didn't yet own a cellphone because "I haven't talked my parents into buying me a cellphone." And he preferred "Monday Night Football" to "Dawson's Creek." ("Are you kidding me?" was his response to the question.)
On juggling his swimming schedule and 4.0 grade-point average, he said: "It's just prioritizing, I guess. Just being real time efficient. I just try to find time for as much as I can."
Several attempts to reach Anderton's family on Wednesday were unsuccessful.
But friends of Anderton and his family said that the arrest came as a shock.
Adam Argo, a family friend, wrote in an e-mail that Anderton's family was supportive of his ventures and was well known and well-liked in the swim-team community.
He said Anderton's father worked two jobs and spent hours researching scholarships so that Anderton would have a chance to attend the University of Pennsylvania.
Anderton's arrest was "quite the departure from what most [expected] of the man," Argo wrote.
"He was really smart. He was a star swimmer," said Mike Wilkes, who was on the swim team with Anderton and is now on active military duty.
A former Advanced Placement teacher, Lance Balla, recalled that Anderton had a great sense of humor and a "positive" attitude around his peers.
According to published reports, Anderton recently told friends that he was doing well, despite being fired from a job as a financial analyst earlier this year, because he'd invested wisely in stocks and real estate.
Former classmate Erica Chandler said that Anderton was "really nice and really driven." He made no apologies for wanting to land a lucrative job, she said. "He considered making a lot of money part of success."
Information from Seattle Times researcher Miyoko Wolf, Times archives and The Associated Press
is included in this report.
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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