Bull-riding accident lawyer is accused in cyberattacks against websites critical of him
A lawyer in Wichita, Kansas, has been charged in alleged cyberattacks on two websites that posted materials critical of his work, as well as a law firm website.
Pistotnik, 62, is known for commercials for his services as an accident lawyer in which he rides a bull, according to the Eagle.
Pistotnik and Dorsett, 36, are accused in attacks in 2014 and 2015 on case information website Leagle.com, the website of law firm Jaburg Wilk and RipoffReport.com. According to the press release, Dorsett filled the websites’ inboxes with threats such as, “Remove this page and we stop.” Another threat said Leagle advertisers would be targeted if the page isn’t removed.
Jaburg Wilk had represented RipoffReport for many years, managing partner Gary Jaburg told the ABA Journal. Partner Maria Crimi Speth told the ABA Journal that the firm’s email server had crashed after receiving tens of thousands of emails demanding removal of a post about Pistotnik on RipoffReport. Speth also said her firm’s email address was spoofed to send emails to some of her business associates and relatives that also demanded the takedown of RipoffReport content.
Dorsett is co-founder of a company called VIRAL Artificial Intelligence.
Pistotnik and Dorsett are charged with five counts of computer fraud and two counts of conspiracy.
Pistotnik is also charged with three counts of making false statements to the FBI. They stem from allegations that Pistotnik:
- Claimed Dorsett told him about a negative post and offered to remove it. In reality, Pistotnik allegedly told Dorsett about the post and asked him how to get rid of it, prosecutors allege.
- Said a lawyer for RipoffReport contacted him a week after Dorsett said the post had been removed. In reality, the lawyer contacted Pistotnik during the attack and before Pistotnik paid Dorsett, prosecutors allege.
- Claimed he received two emails from Dorsett relating to the attack on RipoffReport. In reality, Pistotnik received four emails, including an invoice for the attack and one referencing the method used to make the attack, prosecutors allege.
Stephen Robison, a lawyer for Pistotnik, released this statement: “We have been aware of these allegations for more than two years. We conducted our own investigation and shared our findings with the U.S. Attorney. We have had no request for follow-up, and we consider the matter closed. We are surprised the matter has resurfaced. We denied the allegations then and now.”
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