A 27-year-old former university student who worked as a social media influencer was sentenced to federal prison on Monday for his part in plotting to 'hijack' a popular domain name.
Rossi Lorathio Adams II, 27, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was convicted on one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by force, threats, and violence, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Iowa said in a press release.
In 2015, Adams, also known as "Polo" online, founded a social media company called "State Snaps" while he was still enrolled as a student at Iowa State University.
"At one time, Adams had over a million followers on his social media sites, which mostly contained images and videos of young adults engaged in crude behavior, drunkenness, and nudity," the U.S. Attorney's office said. "In 2015, a Des Moines area television station aired a news segment in which Adams, who in the interview would only identify himself as “Polo,” was continuing to operate his social media sites despite the objections of Iowa State University administrators and the policies of the social media platforms."
Followers of Adams' website would often use the slogan, "Do It For State," something Adams wanted to capitalize on by purchasing the internet domain, doitforstate.com, the statement said. However, that domain had already been registered by another Cedar Rapids resident. According to the statement, between 2015 and 2017, Adams repeatedly tried to get the registered owner to sell the domain to him, but he was rebuked.
In July 2017, Adams drove his cousin Sherman Hopkins Jr. to the home where the domain owner lived, providing Hopkins, a convicted felon, with instructions on how to get the domain owner to transfer ownership to him. Wearing pantyhose on his head and dark sunglasses, Hopkins broke into the man's home with a cell phone, stolen gun and a taser. After he gained entry, prosecutors say the victim managed to retreat to an upstairs bedroom where he shut the door, trying to keep Hopkins out.
Hopkins kicked the door to the bedroom open and demanded to know where the victims kept his computer. Hopkins held his stolen gun to the domain owner's head and instructed him to transfer ownership of the domain to Adams. After Hopkins pistol whipped the victim several times, the victim was able to wrest the gun away from Hopkins.
"Hopkins then pistol whipped the victim several times in the head," the prosecutor's office said. "Fearing for his life, the victim quickly turned to move the gun away from his head."
During the struggle, the victim was shot in the leg, but not before he was able to shoot Hopkins multiple times in the chest.
Adams was convicted in April and sentenced to 168 months in federal prison Monday by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams, the release stated. Adams has also been ordered to pay $9,000 in restitution, $4,000 in prosecution costs, and $22,000 in attorney fees as part of his sentence.
Photo: Linn County