State Attorney General Jeff Chiesa says Susan Frank, also known as “Chicken,” pleaded guilty to third-degree theft by deception today before Superior Court Judge Michael 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.

Frank 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.

The Division of Criminal Justice obtained an indictment in 2007, charging Frank and Brenda Miguel, 51, also known as “Girl Z,” for conning the elderly West Orange man out of $164,900 by pretending to be interested in him romantically and claiming 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 gave Miguel 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 gave Frank with three checks totaling $60,000. In each case, the man believed he was making loans that would be repaid.