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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 21, 2018

Previously Convicted Black Hat Search Engine Optimizer Sentenced for Retaliating Against His Former Victim

          DALLAS — William Laurence Stanley, 54, of Dallas, Texas, a self-proclaimed black hat search engine optimizer and reputation manager was sentenced June 12, 2018, by U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater to serve 97 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $5,605,226 in restitution, following a five-day trial in April 2017, announced U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox of the Northern District of Texas.  

          Stanley was previously sentenced in January 2016 to 37 months in federal prison for extorting 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. 

          According to evidence presented in the April 2017 trial, Stanley began planning his retaliation while serving his prison sentence on the extortion conviction.  From September through sometime in October 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 or derogatory comments or reviews online about the victim company.

          Between September 8, 2016 and October 10, 2016, Stanley posted derogatory online articles/blogs/complaints intended to portray the victim company in a negative light.  Stanley posted the retaliatory data on Facebook.com, Glassdoor.com, ShaggyTexas.com, 800notes.com, callsreceived.com, Yelp.com, Blogspot.com, and Wordpress.com.  Several of the articles/blogs/complaints had titles and photographs added to place the victim company in a negative light.  Stanley also encouraged others to duplicate the negative content in as many places as possible.

          Evidence during the trial established that a company’s reputation is based on the hard work, integrity, and dedication of more than hundreds of associates nationwide.  The victim company repeatedly earned and received top honors and awards in its industry.  Stanley’s retaliatory conduct caused extensive harm to its reputation.

          The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney C.S. Heath prosecuted.     

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Topic(s): 
Cyber Crime
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Janet Pearre janet.pearre@usdoj.gov 214-659-8600
Updated June 21, 2018