Randall Craig, 41, pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in Houston to one count each of exceeding authorized access to a computer and aggravated identity theft, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Donald DeGabrielle Jr.'s office.
The guilty plea comes roughly two weeks after a grand jury indicted Craig on selling the names and Social Security numbers of Marine reservists contained in a database to an individual he believed represented a foreign government, prosecutors said.
Craig worked as a computer contractor at the Marine Corps Reserve Center in San Antonio, where, last September, he accessed a private database and saved the confidential information of an undisclosed number of military personnel to a flash drive, authorities said.
In February, he met with an undercover FBI agent, who was posing as a foreign government representative, and sold him the drive for $500, prosecutors said. A forensic exam concluded the data was poached from files from a database that contained the names and Social Security numbers of roughly 17,000 soldiers assigned to a Marine battalion in San Antonio.
Craig admitted to stealing the information in April, prosecutors said. None of the information contained in the database was ever compromised.
"Our personal identification information is readily available to those who have a legitimate use for it, as well as those who do not, such as Mr. Craig," DeGabrielle said. "Because he sought to profit from this identity theft, we moved swiftly and justly -- as we will in all such cases -- to protect our military heroes and to protect everyone in the conduct of their personal affairs.
A Marine Corps spokesman, Sgt. G. S. Thomas, told SCMagazineUS.com Monday in an email that he cannot comment due to an ongoing investigation.
Craig faces up to seven years in prison -- including a mandatory two-year sentence for aggravated ID theft -- and fines of up to $250,000. He is scheduled to be sentenced July 28 and is currently being held without bail.