This case was a major victory for the Antoine firm in 2011. Donna Crowe's case was a TV movie in the making, full of drama, anger, and heartache, local news coverage on 6abc.com and even the arrest and removal of the Assistant District Attorney on this case, Mike Donahue, on unrelated charges, see my blog dated November 16, 2011.
When this firm began its representation of Ms. Crowe in early February 2010, she was incarcerated at George W. Hill Correctional Facility and held on $25,000.00 cash bail. Ms. Crowe was arrested on charges of Identity Theft, Theft by Unlawful Taking, Receiving Stolen Property by Upper Providence Police Department. She was released from prison on 10% of the $25,000 cash bail. I then started the process of filing various motions on her behalf to which the Commonwealth kept requesting continuances and delaying the case. After almost a year of continuances and motions, I was able to plead Ms. Crowe out to a Disorderly Conduct citation with a $100.00 fine.
According to the police criminal complaint filed by Upper Providence Police Department, Donna Crowe was hired as a nanny by the Aitken family to care for their younger daughter, in October of 2009. Ms. Crowe had answered an ad posted on the website, Sittercity.com by Michelle Aitken. The two met for an interview where a background check was performed and subsequently Ms. Crowe was hired. By mid-November, Ms. Aitken noticed the memory card was missed from the family camera that was kept in her daughter's stroller. Ms. Aitken questioned Ms. Crowe about the missing camera card, to which Ms. Crowe told her she "had no idea." In the next couple weeks, Ms. Aitken noticed a change in Ms. Crowe's mood. When Ms. Crowe did not show for work one day, Ms. Aitken called to ask why and received different answers to the question. It was then the Aitken's family decided to end their working relationship with Ms. Crowe.
Fast-forward to August, 2010, Mr. Aitken received a call from his father-in-law to inquire if he knew Kevin Ward from Georgia. Upon phoning Mr. Ward, Mr. Aitken was asked if he knew a woman named Danielle Shepard. It seems Ms. Sheperd had a website the Wards had discovered with regard to adopting her baby. Mr. Aitken told Mr. Ward he did not know this woman, but Mr. Ward explained there were pictures of his family with their daughter, stating they adopted her from Danielle Sheperd. Mr. Ward then forwarded a picture of Danielle Shepard to Mr. Aitken, who immediately identified Ms. Sheperd to be Donna Crowe. Ms. Crowe had posted pictures of Mr. and Mrs. Aitken, renaming them Jack and Lauren Cote, as well as posting over 500 pictures of their daughter, rooms inside their home, their wedding and honeymoon as well as professional pictures the Aitkens had done.
My legal representation proved the charges pending against Ms. Crowe to be unfounded since there were no damages to speak of. In Pennsylvania, stealing someone's identify is not a crime unless you steal someone's identity to take something of value. There was nothing of value exchanged here, therefore no crime occurred other than summary disorderly conduct. My client was found guilty of Disorderly Conduct and the Commonwealth agreed.
If you have been charged with identity theft, Contact Pennsylvania Criminal Lawyer, Jason R. Antoine, Esquire at (610) 299-0295 or someone you know has been charged with a crime in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.