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Florida man already serving time pleads guilty to stealing, trading Georgia IDs on dark web

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GEORGIA — The U.S. Department of Justice says a man from Florida, already serving 10 years in prison for committing fraud back home, has pleaded guilty to stealing identities in southwest Georgia.

According to federal officials, Damien D. Dennis, 44 of Middleburg, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft on Feb. 7.

The DOJ said Dennis was caught “trading personal identification information with individuals on the dark web, as well as showing others how to get fraudulent bank loans.”

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Court documents show Dennis was pulled over for speeding in February 2020. He was driving with a suspended license and was arrested.

Officers found eight driver’s licenses belonging to real people living in seven states, a social security card, blank W-2 forms, blank check papers, badge makers, printers, bank ID cards, security laminates and business card protectors.

“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 said. “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.”

The DOJ said some of the items found in his car at the time were the tools used to commit fraud and identity theft. Officers also recovered cell phones, laptops and a USB drive.

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Dennis told officers he bought the identification documents from unknown people on the dark web and would use the information to create profiles to sell to others. He also admitted to using the equipment and documents found in his car to make counterfeit IDs, driver’s licenses, social security cards, W-2 forms, lease agreements and entire fake profiles for customers who needed them for “fraudulent uses.”

The U.S. Secret Service joined the investigation as well, learning that Dennis had “extensive conversations” by cell phone where he taught various unknown individuals how to use the fake profiles to request and obtain bank loans, according to the DOJ.

“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 said. “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 faces a mandatory minimum of two years in prison, which will be served consecutively to 12 years for his sentence in Florida, as well as three years on supervised release. He’ll also have to pay a $250,000 fine.

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