I, in no way, had any criminal or "colorable" past, but I did have to explain away the FIRST time I attended law school (I dropped out due to a pretty intense family situation - I had good grades and did not flunk out). When I reapplied, I hired an admissions consultant, and she recommended that I address the issue right in my personal statement, and discuss how my experiences since my first go-round (which had been six years earlier) had changed me and convinced me that starting all over again was what I really wanted to do. Thanks to that advice, I got into every school I applied to, and received significant scholarships at most of them. I had been concerned that no one would even take a chance on me again!
We can sit here and speculate all we want about the quality of the personal statement, or the impact of her criminal activity, but ultimately, she needs some professional advice on how to package her application.