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Published April 10, 2012, 06:11 PM

ND Man Sentenced for Stealing 10-year-old Son's ID

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A Fargo man accused of using the Social Security number of his 10-year-old son earlier this year to set up a bank account and pass $65,000 in bad checks has been sentenced to serve four years in prison.

By: Associated Press,

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A Fargo man accused of using the Social Security number of his 10-year-old son earlier this year to set up a bank account and pass $65,000 in bad checks has been sentenced to serve four years in prison.

Joseph Lightowler, 33, also will be monitored for four years on any financial accounts he opens when he is released from prison. Restitution will be determined later, according to Assistant Cass County State's Attorney Tanya Johnson Martinez.

Lightowler also has been sentenced in two 2011 cases involving bad checks, but he will not serve additional prison time because each of the six-month terms will be served at the same time as his sentence in the case involving his son. In that case, he pleaded guilty to theft of property and unauthorized use of personal identifying information.

"He's just relieved that it's all over with so that he can move on with his life," defense attorney Jeff Bredahl told The Forum newspaper.

Johnson Martinez said the 10-year-old's mother is still working with creditors to try to clear up his credit history.

Authorities said the other two bad check cases involved a $15,000 counterfeit check Lightowler gave to his mother to pay off a vehicle loan, and a bogus check for about $14,000 that he wrote to a company to pay off a piece of construction equipment for a friend. He resolved a theft charge in Bismarck for allegedly failing to pay a $1,052 hotel bill in 2010 by agreeing to forfeit his bond to cover the bill.

Lightowler was convicted in 2006 of using the identities of his two sons, ages 2 and 3 at the time, to set up telephone and cable TV accounts because his credit was bad.


Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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