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Social media influencer convicted for violent plot to hijack website name

A social media influencer from Iowa is facing 20 years in prison for planning a violent home invasion to hijack an internet domain name for his company.

Rossi Lorathio Adams II, 26, was convicted of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by force, threats and violence on Thursday, according to a statement released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Iowa.

According to the statement, Adams founded the social media company “State Snaps” and at one point had more than a million followers on his social media sites. These sites mostly contained images and videos of young adults engaged in crude behavior, drunkenness and nudity. Adams’ followers often used the slogan: “Do It For State!”

When Adams tried to purchase an internet domain named after the slogan — “doitforstate.com” — he discovered that it belonged to a Cedar Rapids resident who had registered it on GoDaddy.com, the statement said. When the owner rejected Adams repeated offers to buy the domain between 2015 and 2017, Adams became aggressive, in one instance threatening one of the domain owner’s friends with “gun emojis” after the friend used the domain to promote concerts, according to the statement.

When that didn’t convince the domain owner to sell the website, Adams enlisted his cousin, Sherman Hopkins, Jr., to help. On June 21, 2017, Adams and Hopkins drove to the domain owner’s home. Adams then gave his cousin a note containing instructions for the domain owner to transfer the domain name to Adams’ GoDaddy account, the statement said. Hopkins, a convicted felon who lived in a homeless shelter at the time, then broke into the home and forced the domain owner at gunpoint to transfer ownership of the domain to Adams.

Hopkins then pistol whipped the victim in the head multiple times, according to the statement. The victim managed to gain control of the gun, but during the struggle, he was shot in the leg. The victim shot Hopkins multiple times in the chest before calling the police, the statement said.

Hopkins was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in June 2018.

Adams was taken into custody by the United States Marshal after the verdict was returned and will remain in custody pending sentencing. In addition to a possible 20 years in prison, Adams faces a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release following any imprisonment.

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