PHILADELPHIA – They were young, rich and in love.
But the jet-setters financed their fun on the credit cards of unsuspecting neighbors in their high-end apartment building and other identity-fraud victims, police said Monday.
Jocelyn Kirsch, 22, and Edward K. Anderton, 25, were charged Friday with identity theft, forgery, unlawful use of a computer and a laundry list of other counts.
Their fraud scheme, estimated at $100,000 this year alone, paid for jaunts to Paris, London and Hawaii and other luxury perks, including Kirsch's stop at a tony salon for $1,700 worth of hair extensions, police said.
"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."
It was not immediately clear if the couple had hired attorneys. Neither has a listed telephone number in Philadelphia.
Police started investigating Nov. 19 after one of the couple's neighbors reported that she thought her identity had been stolen. 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 walked in to pick up the package, detectives said.
A weekend search of the couple's $3,000-a-month apartment turned up a cache 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 drivers' licenses, and keys to unlock many of the apartments and mailboxes in their upscale Rittenhouse Square apartment building. Police are not yet sure how they got the keys.
"They were like a parasite that infected that building," Sweeney said.
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 believe the scheme dates back at least two years and involves victims beyond the apartment house. A slideshow found on one of their computers shows the couple's high-flying travels: kissing in front of the Eiffel Tower, sporting matching red swim wear at a ritzy oceanfront resort; and dining at an elegant restaurant.
Anderton was recently fired from a job as a financial analyst that had paid for at least his initial stay in the apartment, Lt. George Ondrejka said. Kirsch is a student at Drexel University.
Sweeney fears that police are not finished finding victims. So far, they know of five victims, one of whom was taken for $30,000.
Kirsch's father arrived from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to post her $25,000 bond Sunday. Anderton, who hails from Everett, Washington, posted bond Monday, police said.