|TRENTON – Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced the arrest today in Philadelphia of an alleged con artist who has been wanted by the Division of Criminal Justice since 2007 for allegedly conspiring with another woman to steal $164,900 from an elderly West Orange man.
Susan Frank, 48, a.k.a. “Chicken,” formerly of Elizabeth, N.J., was arrested this morning at about 7:30 a.m. at the home of a relative on Summerdale Avenue in Philadelphia by Detective Shawn Gorlin of the Division of Criminal Justice and other members of the U.S. Marshals Service Regional Fugitive Task Force. She was found hiding in the basement of the home.
The Division of Criminal Justice obtained an indictment on June 20, 2007, charging Frank and a second woman, Brenda Miguel, 50, a.k.a. “Girl Z,” formerly of Newark, N.J., with conspiracy, theft by deception and money laundering, all in the second degree, for allegedly conning the elderly West Orange man out of $164,900 by feigning romantic attachment to him and pretending they needed loans for business ventures. Miguel pleaded guilty to theft by deception and was sentenced on Sept. 1, 2010 to five years of probation, conditioned on her performing 250 hours of community service and paying full restitution. Miguel paid $60,000 when she pleaded guilty, and signed a consent judgment to pay the balance of $104,900.
Frank’s arrest resulted from information developed by Detective Gorlin and the U.S. Marshals
Service Regional Fugitive Task Force, with assistance from the Glenolden (Pa.) Police Department. Frank had been stopped by a Glenolden officer last year and allegedly provided a false identification. The Glenolden Police Department charged her today with providing a false identification to law enforcement. She is being held in jail in Delaware County, Pa., with bail set at $250,000, pending extradition to New Jersey.
Frank and Miguel allegedly belong to a group of transient con artists who prey on the elderly. Miguel introduced herself to the victim, a retired financial adviser who is now 91, at a diner in Linden in July 2003. Miguel, who used the alias Theresa Pachino, told him she was a hotel designer and remodeler who needed financing for a project. The victim provided Miguel with cash and checks totaling about $104,900. In 2004, Miguel introduced the victim to Frank, who used the alias Paulina Johns. Frank allegedly claimed to need funding for a national cleaning business she inherited. In October 2004, the victim allegedly provided Frank with three checks totaling $60,000. In each case, the man believed he was making loans that would be repaid.
The investigation was conducted for the Division of Criminal Justice by Lt. James MacInnes and Supervising Deputy Attorney General Francine Ehrenberg, Deputy Chief of the Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau. Supervising Deputy Attorney General Ehrenberg is prosecuting the case. Attorney General Chiesa thanked the Glenolden Police Department for their valuable assistance in locating Frank.
Under state law, second-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of $150,000. The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.