According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a Florida man who is already serving a 10-year jail sentence for fraud committed in his own country has entered a guilty plea to identity theft in southwest Georgia.
Federal officials report that on February 7, Damien D. Dennis, 44, of Middleburg, entered a guilty plea to one count of aggravated identity theft.
“Trading personal identification information with individuals on the dark web, as well as showing others how to get fraudulent bank loans,” according to the DOJ, is what Dennis was found doing.
According to court records, Dennis was stopped for speeding in February 2020. He was nabbed while operating a vehicle with a suspended license.
Eight valid driver’s licenses from actual residents of seven states, a social security card, blank W-2 forms, blank check paper, printers, badge makers, bank ID cards, security laminates, and business card protectors were discovered by the officers.
“Innocent people’s identities were stolen and used to create phony documents so other scam artists could commit all manner of theft and fraud,” U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary stated. “Damien Dennis was running an ID theft scheme that went so far as to teach other individuals how to commit fraud—including how to obtain bank loans—using other people’s stolen identities. Working alongside our law enforcement partners, our office is committed to holding fraudsters accountable and stopping these criminals from preying upon individuals and businesses.”
According to the DOJ, among of the things that were discovered in his car at the time included instruments used for identity theft and fraud. Along with cell phones and laptops, officers also found a USB drive.
Dennis admitted to the police that he purchased the identity documents from unidentified users on the dark web and intended to use the data to build profiles that he could resell to other users. Additionally, he acknowledged that he had created phony lease agreements, driver’s licenses, social security cards, W-2 forms, IDs, and whole profiles for clients in need of them for “fraudulent uses” using the tools and paperwork discovered in his vehicle.
The DOJ claims that when the U.S. Secret Service entered the inquiry, they discovered that Dennis had “extensive conversations” over the phone with other unidentified people, teaching them how to utilize the fictitious accounts to apply for and be granted bank loans.
“This case is another example that clearly shows criminals are continuously looking for ways to steal from unwitting victims. In this case, victims were violated when Damien Dennis possessed their Personal Identifiable Information (PII) for the sole purpose of committing fraud,”Resident Agent in Charge Clint Bush of the U.S. Secret Service’s Albany, Ga., Resident Office stated. “The United States Secret Service, along with our state, local and federal law enforcement partners, will continue to investigate, arrest and support the successful prosecution of the criminals who choose to commit this and other types of financial fraud in our community and around the nation.”
Dennis will serve a minimum of two years in jail, which is mandatory, in addition to the twelve years he was sentenced to in Florida, and three years of supervised release. In addition, he will be fined $250,000.