How much is a domain name worth? For one lunatic, apparently enough to try to steal one at gunpoint. Rossi Lorathio Adams II was just sentenced to 14 years in prison for trying to force a man to transfer him the domain.

Adams, a 27 year-old from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, ran a small social media empire dubbed ‘State Snaps.’ It spanned millions of followers across Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter and depicted “images and videos of young adults engaged in crude behavior, drunkenness, and nudity,” according to a press release from the US Department of Justice.

Adams was a student at Iowa State University when he founded State Snaps in 2015, and his followers often used the phrase “Do it for State” – presumably a play on “do it for the Vine” – hence his interest in the domain name.

Adams began pressuring the domain owner to give up the domain in June of 2015, and continued to do so for the next two years. The owner did not want to sell initially. He later offered to sell for $20,000, but Adams didn’t want to pay up. Then in June of 2017, Adams enlisted his cousin, Sherman Hopkins Jr, to break into the owner’s home and force him to give up the domain.

Hopkins entered the victim’s home carrying a gun and taser, and wearing a pantyhose over his head, sunglasses and a hat. Per the DoJ release:

The victim was upstairs and heard Hopkins enter the home.  From the top of a staircase, the victim saw Hopkins with the gun on the first floor.  Hopkins shouted at the victim, who then ran into an upstairs bedroom and shut the door, leaning up against the door to stop Hopkins from entering.

Hopkins went upstairs, kicked the door open, grabbed the victim by the arm and demanded to know where he kept his computer.  When the victim told Hopkins that he kept his computer in his home office, Hopkins forcibly moved the victim to the office.  Hopkins ordered the victim to turn on his computer and connect to the Internet.  Hopkins pulled out Adams’ demand note, which contained a series of directions on how to change an Internet domain name from the domain owner’s GoDaddy account to one of Adams’ GoDaddy accounts.

At one point, Hopkins tased the victim in the left arm, back, and neck. Fearing for his life as Hopkins became increasingly violent, the victim tried to gain control of the gun. Though he was shot in the leg during the struggle, he eventually managed to wrestle the gun out of Hopkins’ hands and shot him multiple times in the chest.

Hopkins, who was living in a homeless shelter at the time of his attack, survived and pleaded guilty in 2017. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison and apologized to the victim in court. Adams was sentenced earlier this week to 168 months imprisonment, and ordered to pay nearly $9,000 in restitution, in addition to $26,000 in legal fees.

Should have just paid for the domain name, I guess.

Via ArsTechnica

Social Media Influencer Sentenced to 14 Years in Federal Prison after Plotting to Hijack Internet Domain
on United States Department of Justice

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