On Friday, Acting United States Attorney, Joon H. Kim announced that Michael Arnstein had pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to forge a federal judge’s signature. The defendant is now scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Andrew L. Carter Jr. on January 16, 2018. It was alleged that Arnstein carried out a brazen scheme to hide negative publicity on the Internet from February 2014 to February 2017.

During this period of time, Arnstein submitted counterfeit federal court orders to Google in hopes of getting websites containing negative publicity about his business de-indexed from Google’s search engine. Arnstein and others forged the signature of a United States Direct Judge on more than ten counterfeit court orders.

The fraudulent orders listed the websites that contained purportedly defamatory information about the defendant’s business. They also ordered the defamatory information to be removed. Arnstein submitted these orders to Google in hopes of forcing the company to de-index the sites, which contained the supposed defamatory information.

When using the counterfeit court orders, 40-year-old Michael Arnstein frequently succeeded in getting the websites de-indexed. Arnstein, who is from Kailua, Hawaii, pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to forge a judicial signature. That charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.