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Instagram Influencer to Spend 14 Years Behind Bars for Domain Hijacking Plot

The influencer tried to hijack a domain name by resorting to home invasion after the owner refused to sell it.

A social media influencer planned a home invasion to force the owner of “doitforstate.com” to transfer the domain at gunpoint. The Court sentenced him for 14 years in Federal Court for conspiracy to interfere with commerce by force, threats, and violence, the US Department of Justice announced on Monday, December 9.

Rossi Lorathio Adams II is a college student at Iowa State University and the founder of a social media company, “State Snaps.” He has accounts on various social media platforms, including Snapchat and Instagram, with some of them having over a million followers. The content of his websites includes photos and videos of “young adults engaged in crude behavior, drunkenness, and nudity,” according to the report.

Adam wanted the doitforstate.com domain as it resonates with a hashtag (“#DoItForState”) the influencer often used as a slogan in his captions and comments. However, this domain name belonged to a Cedar Rapids resident, Ethan Deyo, an individual with whom Adams had no prior relations. He approached Deyo multiple times, trying to convince him to sell the domain, but failed as Deyo refused to sell it.

However, Adam had no intention to give up the idea. In summer, 2017 he decided to take a violent approach. He hired his homeless cousin, a convicted felon named Sherman Hopkins, to break into Deyo’s house and force him to transfer the domain name. Hopkins showed up at the man’s home armed with a pair of pantyhose over his head and a pistol in his hand.

Eventually, this thriller ended in a bad comedy. Deyo got shot in the leg but managed to wrestle the gun from Hopkins and shoot him in the chest several times. Both men survived.

Adams has been sentenced to 168 months in prison apart from making $9,000 in restitution and paying for legal fees. Even after his sentence, he will have to serve 3 years of supervised release.

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Written by Tanya

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