Last Thursday, a jury found a 26-year-old social media influencer guilty after he hatched an outrageous plan to steal the domain name of his dreams. Now Rossi Lorathio Adams II is facing up to 20 years behind bars.
In 2015, Adams — also known as “Polo” — was a student at Iowa State when he launched a company called State Snaps. The company’s claim to fame was posting risqué images of wild-partying college students on its Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat feeds. Iowa State was not pleased, according to a news release from the United States Attorney’s Office Northern District of Iowa, but Adams continued posting, often using the hashtag #DoItForState.
According to court records, Adams had more than one million followers on his social channels at the height of State Snaps’ success. Though he already owned the DoIt4State.com domain, he wanted to buy DoItForState.com as well. The problem? The URL wasn’t for sale. When the Cedar Rapids-based owner of the domain refused to sell it, Adams hatched a violent plan to steal it instead, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office release.
In June 2017, Adams reportedly asked his cousin, Sherman Hopkins Jr., to break into the home of the domain-owner — identified only as “E.D.” in court filings — and try to steal the domain at gunpoint. Adams had found the owner’s address through GoDaddy registration records, the Washington Post reports.
The news release states that Adams had “provided Hopkins with a demand note, which contained instructions for transferring the domain to Adams’ GoDaddy account.”
Court records show that Hopkins was wearing pantyhose on his head, as well as a hat and sunglasses, and was carrying a stolen gun as well as a taser.
Upon entering the victim’s home, Hopkins reportedly kicked down the bedroom door of the domain-owner, who had heard him break in and tried to hide. Hopkins ordered the victim to follow the instructions on the demand note before pistol-whipping him in the head and holding the gun to his head, the release states.
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The victim attempted to wrestle the gun away from Hopkins and was subsequently shot in the leg — but the victim also managed to shoot Hopkins in the chest multiple times before calling police.
According to the release, a jury convicted Adams for his role in the plot after about one hour of deliberating. He was found guilty of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by force, threats, and violence. He faces up to 20 years in prison, as well as a $250,000 fine.
Last June, Hopkins was sentenced to 20 years in prison.