A California man has been indicted for "cyber extortion" after he launched a website and threatened to use his social network connections to embarrass New York Life Insurance unless the company refunded his premiums.
According to the 10-page grand jury indictment, Anthony Digati—who was arrested
last month March 6th but formally charged in Manhattan federal court yesterday—e-mailed more than a dozen New York Life employees, executives, and board members with a link to his website and attempted to extort more than $200,000.
You can read Digati's wacky ramblings in their entirety below, but here's his meticulously laid-out (and totally crazy) extortion "plan":
Now, for How: My Plan for NYL
- Ask your IT guy where the search engines are going to index a website entitled New York Life Products listing every product and service you have with 56 pages of relevant content? The files are already there, I just need to change a few extensions to go live.
- I belong to every forum I could find that deals with financial services (over 200). I have over 2000 posts on these forums with my signature, on March 8th, 2010, my signature will be changed to reflect this websites name, that is over 2000 links to this website OVERNIGHT.
- I have 6 MILLION emails going out to couples with children age 25-40, this email campaign is ordered and paid for. 2 million go out on the 8th and every two days 2 million more for three weeks rotating the list. Of course it is spam, I hired a spam service, I could care less, The damge will be done.
- I am a huge social networker, and I am highly experienced. 200,000 people will be directly contacted by me through social networks, slamming your integrity and directing them to this website within days.
- I also have a list that includes EVERY AGENT you have in the USA. An email will go out to them as well directing them to this website. That should cause your employee line to ring!
Digati said the spam campaign would "drag your company name and reputation through the muddiest waters imaginable," and promised it would cost New York Life "millions in lost revenues, trust and credibility." Then, according to the indictment, Digati upped the ante and threatened that it would take $3 million to keep him quiet if New York Life didn't meet his March 8th deadline. He added:
By the way: Yes, I am crazy. Yes, I am vindictive. Yes, I am extremely upset. Yes, I will do everything that I said. I have absolutely nothing to lose or any fear of retaliation, no judge in the world is going to rule for a 200 billion dollar company when there is a lonely customer that you stole from!
Because a court would never rule in favor of multi-billion financial services company over the interests of an average citizen, would it?