WICHITA, KAN. – A Wichita lawyer and a computer software engineer were charged today in a federal indictment alleging they were responsible for cyberattacks on web sites that posted information critical of the lawyer’s work, according to U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister.
Wichita Attorney Bradley A. Pistotnik, 62, and David Dorsett, 36, Wichita, Kan., co-founder of a company called VIRAL Artificial Intelligence, are charged with five counts of computer fraud and two counts of conspiracy. In addition, Pistotnik is charged with three counts of making false statements to the FBI.
The indictment alleges Pistonik and Dorsett are responsible for cyberattacks on Leagle.com, Ripoffreport.com and JaburgWilk.com. The indictment alleges Dorsett filled the web site’s in-boxes with threats.
One of the emails read: “Remove this page and we stop” and “if you don’t remove it we will begin targeting your advertisers and explain that this will stop happening to them once they pull their ads from leagle.com or leagle.com kills this page.”
The indictment alleges that when an FBI agent questioned Pistotnik he made false statements including:
o Pistotnik claimed Dorsett told him about a negative posting on Riffoffreport.com and offered to remove it. In fact, Pistotnik told Dorsett about the negative posting and said to Dorsett, “tell me how to get rid of it.”
o Pistotnik claimed that it was a week after Dorsett told him the negative posting had been removed that an attorney for Ripoffreport.com contacted him. In fact, the company’s attorney contacted Pistotnik during the attack and before Pistotnik paid Dorsett for his services.
o Pistotnik claimed he received two emails from Dorsett relating to the attack on Ripoffreport. In fact, he received four such emails, including an invoice for the attack and one referencing the invoice as well as the method used to make the attack.
Upon conviction, the crimes carry the following penalties:
Computer fraud: Up to five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on each count.
Conspiracy: Up to 10 years and a fine up to
Making false statements: Up to five years and a fine up to $250,000 on each count.
The FBI investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Hart is prosecuting.