Two judges sitting in Prince George's County Circuit Court yesterday sentenced convicted con man Derek Dion Curtis to 24 years in prison on a variety of fraud and bad check charges that prosecutors said were compounded by his failure to show up in court over a period of three years.
Curtis, 28, according to court records, posed as a minister, a psychiatric technician and a mental health counselor during the years that he operated from various addresses in and around Prince George's County. He has been held at the county detention center without bond since his arrest at an Annapolis church last November.
Assistant State's Attorney Michael Conway said that there are similar charges still pending against Curtis in Montgomery and Anne Arundel counties and in Alexandria.
"He's being punished because he's totally abused the system by failing to appear" in court, Conway said. "He just totally thumbed his nose at the system, and that's the reason why the sentences were so severe."
Curtis rejected a negotiated plea-bargaining arrangement in February that would have resulted in concurrent 10-year sentences on six felony charges.
Curtis' attorney, Robert W. Mance III, said he does not know if his client will appeal the convictions. Neither Conway nor Mance were certain when he will be eligible for parole.
Associate Appeals Court Judge James F. Couch Jr., who was filling in on Circuit Court yesterday, sentenced Curtis to seven years in one case and Circuit Court Judge Howard S. Chasanow sentenced Curtis to three-, six- and eight-year sentences in three other cases.
Curtis maintained as he was sentenced that he is an honest man.