Computer programmer admits role in Kansas cyberattack threat

October 21, 2019 GMT

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Prosecutors say a computer software engineer has admitted threatening cyberattacks against websites that criticized a Wichita attorney’s work.

VIRAL Artificial Intelligence co-founder David Dorsett pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of making extortionate threats via the internet. The 37-year-old Wichita man admitted in his plea he contacted lawyer Brad Pistotnik in 2014 offering “reputation management services.”

The U.S. attorney’s office said in a news release that Pistotnik wanted negative postings removed, including a Kansas Supreme Court disciplinary opinion.

Dorsett sent an email barrage to Leagle.com and Ripoffreport.com demanding they remove the information and threatening to target advertisers.

Prosecutors say Dorsett billed Pistotnik for sending the threats and Pistotnik paid him the same day.

Pistotnik was sentenced to pay a $375,000 fine and $55,200 in restitution. Dorsett’s sentencing is Jan. 6.