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Man who stole identity of former NSA chief gets 54-month sentence

A man who admitted to using the personal information of a top government security official to steal that person’s tax refund was sentenced to 54 months in prison on Tuesday.

Carnell King previously had admitted to multiple counts of fraud and identity theft in federal court.

His biggest mistake, though, he has previously conceded, was posing as Keith Alexander, former director of the National Security Agency. He not only got a counterfeit credit card in Alexander’s name — he collected a $9,000 tax refund owed to Alexander.

King’s attorney had said at a previous hearing that his client had no idea who Alexander was before FBI agents raided his home in the city’s Austin neighborhood. But choosing Alexander as a victim “certainly appeared to get the government’s attention,” attorney John Beal had said.

The fraud attempt was part of a bad period for Alexander, who resigned from the NSA in 2013 after a former contractor, Edward Snowden, made off with files showing the agency was conducting a massive program of data collection on American citizens, among other embarrassing disclosures.

Alexander mentioned he had been a victim of identity theft during a panel discussion on cyber security in Chicago last year, and told an audience at another public forum that he learned someone had claimed his tax refund in 2014.

Contributing: Andy Grimm, Rummana Hussain, Jon Seidel

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