Social media influencer Polo sentenced after man held at gunpoint over web domain

Rossi Lorathio Adams II, also known as Polo, founded the social media company "State Snaps" in 2015. He was sentenced to more than a decade in prison  for enlisting his cousin to forcibly steal a domain name.

DES MOINES, Iowa – A social media influencer from Iowa has been sentenced to more than a decade in prison after he enlisted his cousin to hold a man at gunpoint in exchange for his internet domain, officials said.

Rossi Lorathio Adams II, also known as Polo, founded the social media company “State Snaps” in 2015 while he was a student at Iowa State University, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice. His followers often used the slogan, “Do it for State!”

Adams, 27, wanted the domain, but it was already registered to a Cedar Rapids man. Authorities said Adams tried to buy the domain, but the owner repeatedly declined to sell it.

In June of 2017, Adams enlisted his cousin, Sherman Hopkins Jr., to break into the website owner’s home and force him at gunpoint to sell the domain to Adams, the news release said.

Hopkins, wearing pantyhose and sunglasses over his face and a hat on his head, chased the man upstairs before catching him. During a struggle, the victim managed to gain control of the gun but was shot in the leg, police said. He then shot Hopkins several times in the chest.

Hopkins, who survived his gunshot wounds, was sentenced last year to 20 years in prison. He pleaded guilty in December 2017 to one count of interference and attempted interference with commerce by threats and violence, according to the justice department.

A federal judge sentenced Adams to 14 years in prison Monday, stemming from his conviction in April of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by force, threats and violence. The judge also ordered him to pay $9,000 in restitution and to pay prosecution costs and attorney fees.

At one time, “State Snaps” had more than 1 million users and incorporated other social media platforms like Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram. Most of the site’s content featured videos and pictures of “young adults engaged in crude behavior, drunkenness and nudity,” according to the justice department’s news release.