|TRENTON – Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced that a female con artist who was arrested earlier this month in Philadelphia pleaded guilty today to 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., pleaded guilty to third-degree theft by deception before Superior Court Judge Michael A. Petrolle in Essex County. Under her plea agreement, the state will recommend that she be sentenced to 364 days in the county jail and a term of probation. She paid $20,000 in restitution today and must pay an additional $40,000 prior to sentencing. She must sign a consent judgment to pay another $44,900, representing the balance of unpaid restitution. Judge Petrolle scheduled sentencing for Frank for Oct. 29.
Supervising Deputy Attorney General Francine Ehrenberg, Deputy Chief of the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau, prosecuted the case and took the plea.
The Division of Criminal Justice obtained an indictment on June 20, 2007, charging Frank and a second woman, Brenda Miguel, 51, a.k.a. “Girl Z,” formerly of Newark, N.J., for 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 $104,900.
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 claimed to need funding for a national cleaning business she inherited. In October 2004, the victim 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 Ehrenberg.
Frank was arrested on Aug. 15 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 hiding in the basement of the home.
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.