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2 year prison term for Minnesotan who stole fellow soldiers' IDs

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A Minnesota soldier who admits he stole identifying information from fellow members of his Army unit was sentenced to two years in prison Friday.

The judge who sentenced Keith Novak said the case was made more serious by the fact that Novak used his military access to victimize fellow soldiers, the Associated Press reports.

Novak, of Maplewood, pleaded guilty to identity theft in April. He was accused of stealing information including social security numbers from roughly 400 members of the Army unit stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where Novak served from 2009 to 2012.

Prosecutors say Novak, 25, was leading an anti-government militia at the time of his arrest last year and planned to sell the information to members who wanted to create fake IDs. Two people who posed as militia members were actually undercover FBI agents, one of whom described the purchase of the information in an affidavit filed with the criminal complaint against Novak.

The agents say Novak also described a plan to blow up a National Security Agency facility.

While stationed at Fort Bragg, Novak, an intelligence analyst, was deployed to Iraq for one tour of duty. After his discharge he joined the Minnesota National Guard.

Reuters says Novak's attorney asked that the prison sentence be no more than a year, arguing Novak was disillusioned after his service in Iraq. The AP says the lawyer also read a letter written by Novak, who apologized for "a terrible mistake."

In the wake of Novak's crime, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper posted ID theft prevention tips specifically for military personnel. The Army issued an alert on its website, as well.

Fox Business says a study done for the Federal Trade Commission last year found military families report identity theft at twice the rate of the general public. Until recently, Fox says, all military IDs were tied to social security numbers.

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