Websites respond to charges against Brad Pistotnik
A Wichita attorney is set to appear in federal court. Brad Pistotnik is charged with multiple counts of fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and making false statements to the FBI.
A federal indictment claims Pistotnik worked with Wichita software engineer David Dorsett to attack websites that posted negative comments about him.
Factfinder 12 got in touch with the people behind two of the three websites in the indictment. Both say this all started with a negative comment posted about Pistotnik in 2014 on RipoffReport.com.
Ed Magedson, the founder of Ripoff Report describes the website as a consumer site that posts complaints about specific firms and people. Magedson says Pistotnik contacted him and demanded he remove the negative post. The indictment claims Pistotnik had Dorsett threaten the website to take down the comment, saying "remove this page and we will stop," "if you don't remove it we will begin targeting your advertisers and explain this will stop happening to them once they pull their ads."
Magedson says the cyber attacks caused his server to crash and he reported it to authorities.
"He thinks he can get away with it and he can't. I told him he's not going to get away with it," said Magedson referring to Pistotnik.
The indictment says Pistotnik and Dorsett sent the same messages to Jaburgwilk.com. Jaburg Wilk is an Arizona law firm that represents Ripoff Report.
In a statement, Jaburg Wilk said "because we represented that website, we were the target of tens of thousands of emails that demanded removal of the post. The volume of the emails caused our servers to crash. Our email address was also spoofed to send emails with the same content to certain business associates and relatives."
Pistotnik's attorney, Stephen Robison released a statement Tuesday. Robison said they have been aware of the allegations for more than two years. He said they conducted their own investigation and shared the findings with the U.S. Attorney.
The third website mentioned in the indictment, Leagle.com has not responded to requests for comment.
Pistotnik is scheduled to make his first appearance in federal court Aug.1 at 1:30 p.m.