Indictment: Wichita Attorney Brad Pistotnik, software engineer charged in alleged cyberattacks
The attorney for Brad Pistotnik, Stephen Robison, released the following statement regarding federal charges filed against his client for alleged cyberattacks.
"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."
Eyewitness News is also in the process of reaching out to David Dorsett, the computer software engineer charged in the case.
Both he and Pistotnik 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.
A Wichita lawyer and a computer software engineer were charged today in a federal indictment alleging they were responsible for cyberattacks on websites that posted information critical of the lawyer’s work, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said.
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 Pistotnik and Dorsett are responsible for cyberattacks on Leagle.com, Ripoffreport.com and JaburgWilk.com. The indictment alleges Dorsett filled the website’s inboxes 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 $250,000.
- Making false statements: Up to five years and a fine up to $250,000 on each count.
Eyewitness News has reached out to Brad Pistotnik for a comment and we are waiting to hear back.