MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — An Iraq War veteran accused of stealing the identification information of hundreds of members of his former Army unit will remain in federal custody while the case is referred to a grand jury, a judge ruled Monday.
Keith Michael Novak, 25, is charged with fraud for allegedly stealing the names, Social Security numbers and birthdates of about 400 members of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C.
An affidavit alleges he planned to use the information to create fake IDs for members of his militia. It says he also wanted money.
The affidavit unsealed last week also said Novak threatened violence if arrested, allegedly telling an undercover FBI employee he had "5000 rounds, a thousand of it is in magazines, ready to go."
FBI Special Agent Christopher Crowe testified Monday that Novak had a semi-automatic pistol, brass knuckles and a knife on him when he was arrested last week. Crowe said Novak resisted arrest and that the pistol had a loaded magazine, but did not have a round in the chamber.
Other firearms also were found in Novak's apartment, Crowe said.
Defense attorney Anders Folk argued Novak should be released, saying he is not a flight risk and that statements he's accused of making were nothing more than boasting. He also said it's not illegal to be in a militia.
"The stupid things he said — there is evidence to believe he could carry them out, is there not?" U.S. Magistrate Judge Franklin Noel said. He ordered that Novak remain in custody.
According to an FBI affidavit, Novak was an active duty soldier and intelligence analyst with the 82nd Airborne Division from Feb. 26, 2009, to Sept. 3, 2012. He also served in active duty in Iraq in 2010. Novak is currently a human intelligence analyst with the Minnesota National Guard.
In late January, he went to a training camp in Utah and while there he met two undercover FBI employees who posed as members of a Utah-based militia, according to the affidavit. Novak told the undercover employees that he took classified materials from Fort Bragg and that he would share the materials with them, according to the document.
The affidavit showed undercover employees met Novak in Minnesota in July and that he gave them an electronic copy of classified documents and taught them how to encrypt files. He also said that he had a personnel roster — including names, birthdates and Social Security numbers — of a "Battalion's-worth of people" from his former unit, the document showed.
Crowe testified that over the next several months, Novak sent the undercover FBI employees identification information for a total of 92 members of his former unit and accepted money in return.
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