A man who pleaded guilty to being behind B.C.'s biggest identity theft ring is out of jail on Thursday -- only three days after his trial.

In a sentence that law and order critics say is but a slap on the wrist, Timothy Bradley Moisan, 35, dodged a 14-year maximum sentence for his part in a ring that captured the personal information of tens of thousands of people.

"It's absolutely outrageous," said Mike Farnworth, the provincial NDP's public safety critic.

"There should be severe and swift consequences and the sentence that was handed down is frankly a slap on the wrist," he said.

Last Feburary, police in Surrey discovered that a nondescript building in Newton was actually an identity theft factory, with hundreds of CDs packed with names, address, phone numbers, and mother's maiden names.

Stacks of passports, driver's licenses, and credit cards -- both real and fake -- lined the room, as did reams of stolen mail.

It was all part of a massive operation designed to steal people's identities, con into their bank accounts, and steal their money.

Court documents show 35-year-old Timothy Moisan was charged in the case along with Tanya Aschert, 27, and Moisan could have faced as much as 14 years in jail.

But Moisan pleaded guilty to his crimes in provincial court. The judge gave him a year in jail. But because he had spent six months in custody awaiting trial -- time which is weighed twice because it's before trial -- he had effectively finished the sentence before it began.

Essentially that is six months behind bars for a crime that may have years of repercussions for potentially thousands of victims.

Neither Surrey RCMP nor Canada Post were willing to comment on camera, but in an e-mail Canada Post said they put a lot of hours into the investigation, including having to match, repair, repackage and re-send the stolen mail.

CTV News tried to contact the chief judge of the Provincial Court, Hugh Stansfield, and B.C.'s attorney-general, Wally Oppal, but neither were available to comment.

Moisan is now free with minimal restrictions imposed by the judge.

CTV News went to the address Moisan supplied the court after his release, but he wasn't there.

In the end, there's no explanation about how the man behind one of the biggest identity theft rings ever in B.C. got off serving only six months plus a day. Critics say sentences like this will only bolster a growing epidemic.

"Identity theft causes greater and greater problems and creates havoc for people, and frankly if we don't send a message then it's just going to continue," said Farnworth.

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Stephen Smart