WTF?! Some people will go to great lengths to secure a domain name, but one social media influencer turned to illegal means, earning himself a 14-year prison sentence. The US Department of Justice announced that 27-year-old Rossi Lorathio Adams II, aka “Polo,” of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was so determined to obtain a domain name that he hired his cousin to break into the owner’s home and threaten him at gunpoint.
Adams operated several accounts known as State Snaps across social media platforms, including Instagram and Snapchat, while he was at Iowa State University. Beginning in 2015, they allowed students to submit photos and videos of their college antics, which often involved drunkenness, nudity, and drug use. At one point, his Instagram account had over 1.5 million followers.
Many of the account followers used the slogan “Do It For State,” prompting Adams' attempt to buy the domain “doitforstate.com” from a Cedar Rapids resident, Ethan Deyo, who Adams didn’t know.
Despite repeatedly trying to purchase the domain name for two years, Deyo refused to sell, though he did once offer it for $20,000, but Adams felt the price was too high. The influencer then started using intimidation, sending a gun emoji to one of Deyo’s friends.
The situation escalated in 2017 when Adams enlisted his cousin, convicted felon Sherman Hopkins, Jr, who at the time lived in a homeless shelter, to break into Deyo’s home. He was to threaten him at gunpoint, forcing the owner to transfer his domain to Adams.
Carrying a phone, a stolen gun, and a taser, and wearing a hat, pantyhose on his head, and dark sunglasses, Hopkins broke into Deyo’s home after Adams drove him to the address. He put the gun to the victim’s head and ordered him to follow the instructions on the demand note, which detailed how to transfer the domain name. After being pistol-whipped and shot in the leg by Hopkins, Deyo managed to wrestle the gun away from his attacker and shoot the man several times in the chest. Both men survived.
Hopkins pleaded guilty in December 2017 in U.S. District Court to one count interference and attempted interference with commerce by threats and violence. He was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison. In April this year, a jury found Adams guilty of one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by force, threats, and violence. He was sentenced to 168 months (14 years) behind bars.
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