Edward Anderton, whose cheery disposition was captured on film alongside his former galpal Jocelyn Kirsch and published worldwide, had nothing to smile about yesterday as he stood in federal court and pleaded guilty to his role in the young couple's identity-theft crime spree.
There, the University of Pennsylvania economics graduate was forced to listen as Assistant U.S. Attorney Louis Lappen read the seemingly endless schemes Anderton pulled off - allegedly with Kirsch - against friends, strangers, neighbors and co-workers.
The photogenic pair took a purse from a Center City bar, for example, and later called the unsuspecting victim to say they accidentally had her bag and would return it in the morning, Lappen said. Then, the two - now known in the headlines as "Bonnie and Clyde" - beelined it to a New Jersey Wal-Mart, where they used the victim's credit card to buy a flat-screen TV.
Anderton, 25, with his parents sitting close by, comforting one another, pleaded guilty to six counts of conspiracy, aggravated identity theft, access-device fraud, bank fraud and money laundering. He is looking at a minimum of five years in federal prison.
Kirsch is scheduled to face U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno on Thursday, where she also is expected to plead guilty.
Neither Anderton, his parents, Kyle and Lori Anderton, nor his lawyer, Lawrence Krasner, would speak to reporters after the hearing. The Ivy League grad's eyes appeared to well with tears. His next hearing is scheduled for Aug. 29.
Anderton, dressed in a pale-blue button-down shirt, khaki trousers and brown shoes, updated the court on his life in Everett, Wash. He told Robreno that he had been seeing a psychiatrist for the last few weeks, works at a construction and landscaping company earning $10 an hour, and is not on any medication.
It's been a long tumble for Anderton, a collegiate swimmer, fraternity brother and scholarship winner who graduated from Penn in 2005. More than a year later, Anderton met Kirsch, a former Drexel University student, and began as a financial analyst earning nearly $65,000 at the real-estate equity firm Lubert-Adler.
The bright star was fired in July 2007, apparently after he lied about being sick.
Shortly after they became romantically involved, Anderton and Kirsch began to defraud almost anyone they came in contact with by stealing Social Security numbers, dates of birth and names, according to federal authorities. Anderton, and allegedly Kirsch, stole about $116,000 and attempted to take another $122,000 in their scams, federal authorities said. *