Iowa man convicted of plotting to steal domain name at gunpoint

Rossi Lorathio Adams II enlisted his cousin to rob the owner of the domain "doitforstate.com" at gunpoint. The owner of the domain then shot Adams' cousin.

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By Kalhan Rosenblatt

An Iowa man who founded a social media company highlighting young adults engaging in "crude behavior, drunkenness, and nudity" was convicted of plotting to rob a man at gunpoint over a domain name, prosecutors said.

Rossi Lorathio Adams II, 26, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who also goes by "Polo," was convicted Thursday of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by force, threats and violence, according to the U.S. attorney's office for the Northern District of Iowa.

As a student at Iowa State University in 2015, Adams founded the social media company "State Snaps," which curated the crude images and videos on sites such as Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. Followers of "State Snaps" were encouraged to use the slogan "Do it for state!" when submitting content.

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Rossi Lorathio Adams II.Linn County Jail

After founding the company, Adams tried to buy the domain "doitforstate.com" from a resident in Cedar Rapids, who refused to sell the web address. Adams made multiple attempts to buy the domain from 2015 to 2017, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Adams owned the domain for "doit4state.com" but believed his company needed the domain "doitforstate.com."

After failing to persuade the unidentified owner of "doitforstate.com" to sell the page, Adams enlisted his cousin Sherman Hopkins Jr., a felon living in a homeless shelter, to break into the owner's home and force him at gunpoint to transfer the domain to Adams.

On June 21, 2017, with instructions on how to transfer the domain written on a note, Hopkins entered the owner's home and pointed a gun at his head while instructing him to transfer the domain, according to officials.

The owner struggled with Hopkins and was shot in the leg but eventually was able to get control of the weapon. He shot Hopkins multiple times in the chest before calling police.

Hopkins survived and pleaded guilty to one count interference and attempted interference with commerce by threats and violence, according to The Gazette newspaper of Cedar Rapids. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2018.

Adams, who has yet to be sentenced, is facing a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Adams' attorney declined to comment to NBC News.