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Photo: Broward Sheriff’s Office
July 9, 2014
Having three very large face tattoos including the Bentley car logo, a shark and some kind of star decal, Derek Denesevich of Lauderhill, with the help of Broward County Clerk Porscha Kyles, managed to steal people’s identities and then use them to file fraudulent income tax returns.
The Lauderhill, Florida, man surrendered in court to face his federal identity theft charges. How’d he get his hands on such confidential information?
He paid off a former Broward Clerk of Courts employee, Porscha Kyles, to slip him other people’s drivers’ licenses.
Denesevich was initially identified as a suspect earlier this year.
He’d been pulling the scam since 2011 when he offered Kyles money in exchange for the names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers of motorists.
He then used the information to electronically file fake and unauthorized tax returns with the IRS in the hopes of getting refunds.
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, (DAVID).
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.
For several months, starting in October 2011, Denesevich offered Porscha 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.
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.
Denesevich then used some of the information to electronically file fraudulent and unauthorized tax returns seeking refunds from the Internal Revenue Service, prosecutors said.
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.
"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.
Prosecutors revealed in court that, since he got caught, the 26-year-old Lauderhill man worked undercover for the FBI.
He wore a wire and helped agents prosecute six other people who sold more than 1,200 stolen identities and committed tax fraud, prosecutor Michael Berger told the judge.
Denesevich admitted he paid a former Broward Clerk of Courts employee, Porscha Kyles, to steal drivers' identities from a state database in 2011 and 2012.
He also admitted he used that information to file about 80 fraudulent income tax returns and collect $57,238 in refunds.
Denesevich, who has nearly a dozen convictions for crimes that include illegal possession of an alligator, robbery, firearm and a drug offense, fled to Canada in the spring of 2012 after federal agents attempted to interview him about the identity thefts.
He vowed to never return to South Florida.
Then his son was born in August 2012 and Denesevich said he knew it was time to mend his ways and be a good dad.
He returned to Broward County, cooperated with the FBI, worked a legitimate job and earned a pilot's license.
"I came back here for my son," Denesevich told the judge, apologizing for his crimes. "I'm extremely sorry to my victims."
Sentencing guidelines suggested a punishment of at least 4 1/2 years in federal prison but prosecutors, and FBI agents who came to court to vouch for the value of his undercover work, recommended a punishment of two years and three months in prison.
U.S. District Judge William Zloch grilled the prosecution and defense about how useful Denesevich's cooperation was and whether his victims were still experiencing difficulties getting their income tax returns.
When Zloch was satisfied, he agreed to give Denesevich extraordinary credit and sentenced him to one year and three months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. He must report to prison on Dec. 12 and has to pay $57,328 in restitution with Kyles, who is serving three years for her crimes.
After sentencing, Denesevich didn't want to say much about his tattoos or what inspired him to get them other than to confirm he's a fan of Bentleys.
He’s also having the tattoos on his face removed.
If he keeps up with the tattoo removal, his face art will be a thing of the past. But he'll always have a memento of it. Tattooed on his back is a portrait of his own face with the Bentley logo.