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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Convicted Search Engine Optimizer Indicted for Retaliating Against Former Victim

Faces Up to 10 Years in Federal Prison if Convicted

DALLAS, Texas — Less than one year after being sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for attempting to extort money from a Dallas-based business (victim Company) and ordered to pay $174,888 in restitution to the numerous victims of his extortive conduct in U.S. v. William Laurence Stanley, 3:14-CR-113-N, former search engine optimizer William Laurence Stanley, 53, was indicted this week for retaliating against the principle victim in the 2014 case.  The indictment was announced today by U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.

This week’s indictment alleges that from approximately September 6 through September 28, 2016, Stanley, knowingly and with the intent to retaliate against a person for providing law enforcement information about the commission of a federal offense, posted false and derogatory comments and reviews online about the victim Company from the 2014 case.

Stanley’s conviction in the above-referenced case, stemmed from his and his sister, Lynn Faust’s online and telephone threats from 2013 through 2014 to ruin the reputation of the victim Company because of his pretense that the victim Company refused to pay him approximately $30,000.  Stanley threatened to post negative things online about the victim Company that had the potential to cause significant revenue losses.  Stanley’s search engine optimization skills caused any items he posted online to rank high on the various search engines.  During the early stages of the extortion in 2014, the victim Company notified the FBI in Dallas, which opened an investigation.  Several victim Company officers and employees subsequently provided truthful information to the FBI regarding Stanley’s commission of a federal offense – the offense to which he ultimately pled guilty in July 2015.

In early August 2016, after serving the majority of his imprisonment term, Stanley was transferred by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to a halfway house in Houston.  In early September 2016, the BOP placed Stanley on home confinement at his daughter’s residence in Angleton, Texas.

On approximately September 21, 2016, according to the affidavit filed with the criminal complaint, Stanley posted derogatory online articles/blogs/complaints intended to portray the victim Company in a negative light.  Several of the articles/blogs/complaints had titles and photographs added to place the victim Company in an even more negative light.  Stanley also allegedly encouraged others to duplicate the negative content in as many places as possible.  The investigation revealed, among other things, that Stanley created the derogatory blogs while he was on home confinement in Angleton.

The affidavit further notes that as a result of the recent derogatory online postings, the victim Company has suffered a significant loss of revenue, with the potential for additional loss of revenue so long as the postings remain online.

Stanley has been held in custody on the complaint filed on October 20, 2016, since he completed his previous BOP sentence on November 4, 2016.   Following a detention hearing held on December 2, 2016, U.S. Magistrate Judge David L. Horan ordered that Stanley remain in custody.  Judge Horan found there was no condition or combination of conditions that would reasonably assure Stanley’s appearance as required.  He noted that Stanley has a house and family in Romania, and he has expressed an interest in returning there.  A family member also told law enforcement that he would definitely flee the country if released from custody.

An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury, and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty.  If convicted, however, Stanley faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.  Restitution could also be ordered.

The FBI is investigating the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney C.S. Heath is in charge of the prosecution.

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Updated December 7, 2016