The ominous letter from the prosecutor's office was addressed to her grandfather, Albert Lachowicz, but it came to Jennifer Paczan because she was handling his finances.* * *
The letter was signed by Beaver County District Attorney Anthony J. Berosh, and was on the D.A.'s letterhead. It said Berosh's office had received reports alleging that Lachowicz had engaged in "criminal activity" by "issuing a fraudulent check."
Paczan, then a student at the University of Pittsburgh, knew that hadn't happened.* * *
So why was she getting a threat from the D.A. – followed several weeks later by another letter from Berosh topped even more ominously, "Warning of Criminal Charges"?
It turned out she wasn't. Instead, both came from a California company, National Corrective Group, that was behind an elaborate scheme to profit from simple mistakes made by people like Paczan.
* * *
The worst part of this story? That the scheme worked only thanks to the complicity of hundreds of local prosecutors around the country, who were invited to join in profiting from the deceptions. You might even call it "rent a D.A."