Some might say you couldn’t mistake him for anyone else because of his unique facial tattoos — which include the Bentley luxury car logo splashed across his forehead and between his eyes.
But federal prosecutors say Derek Denesevich liked to pretend to be other people by stealing their identities and using them to make money by filing fraudulent income tax returns.
Denesevich, 26, of Lauderhill, surrendered in court Wednesday to face federal identity theft charges. He paid a former Broward Clerk of Courts employee to misuse her position and steal drivers’ identities, according to court records.
Denesevich is charged with aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to possess unauthorized access devices. According to court records, he is cooperating with the investigation of a stolen identity tax refund fraud scheme that prosecutors said he operated.
Denesevich, who told the judge that he works in a shoe store, was first publicly identified as a suspect in the case earlier this year.
“He has accepted responsibility for what he did and he is doing anything and everything in his power to make amends,” his lawyer Omar Guerra Johansson said.
The lawyer declined to comment on details of the crime or Denesevich’s extensive facial and neck tattoos.
Denesevich’s alleged co-conspirator Porscha Kyles was sentenced to three years and one day in federal prison earlier this year. Kyles, 26, formerly of Davie, is serving her prison term in Central Florida.
The former Broward court clerk was fired in 2012 after she was caught stealing identities on the job that she had held for four years. Kyles worked at the public counter in the traffic and misdemeanor division at the county courthouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale and had access to the state’s driver license database.
For several months, starting in October 2011, Denesevich offered Kyles cash payments in exchange for her providing him with the names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers of motorists, federal prosecutors wrote in court documents.
“Kyles knew that the [information] that she provided to Denesevich was going to be used in a tax-refund fraud scheme,” according to her plea agreement.
Denesevich then used some of the information to electronically file fraudulent and unauthorized tax returns seeking refunds from the Internal Revenue Service, prosecutors said.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Lurana Snow agreed to release Denesevich on $50,000 bond. She barred him from working in any job that involves having access to other people’s personal identifying information, such as dates of birth and Social Security numbers.
Denesevich is scheduled to return to federal court in Fort Lauderdale on Monday to either plead guilty or not guilty. If convicted, he faces a maximum of seven years in federal prison.
Kyles came under suspicion when her supervisors noticed that there was irregular activity involving her use of a computer database of driver’s license information.
She later pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge and one count of aggravated identity theft and was sentenced to the prison term and ordered to pay $57,328 in restitution. She admitted that she used her position to steal drivers’ personal information
Prosecutors said that she sold the information of more than 100 Florida drivers to Denesevich and the conspiracy involved an intended loss amount of at least $120,000.