Operator Of Luxury Eyewear Website Sentenced In Manhattan Federal Court To Four Years In Prison For Defrauding And Threatening Customers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that VITALY BORKER, the operator of “DecorMyEyes.com,” a website through which he sold luxury eyeglasses, was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to four years in prison for defrauding his customers, and for sending them threatening communications. BORKER pled guilty in May 2011 to two counts of making threats in interstate communications, one count of mail fraud, and one count of wire fraud. He was sentenced by United States District Judge Richard J. Sullivan. BORKER was ordered detained by Judge Sullivan on July 11, 2012 following a hearing at which various victims testified about his conduct.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Vitaly Borker was an Internet shopper's worst nightmare. Borker operated behind the veil of the Internet and aliases to first defraud his victims and then, if they complained, terrorize them with threats, intimidation, and harassment. Today’s sentence ensures that he will pay for his crimes, and sends a clear message that the remoteness of an internet business will not protect defendants who defraud and abuse consumers.”
According to the Complaint, the Superseding Information, documents filed in advance of BORKER’s sentencing, and statements made at BORKER’s guilty plea and sentencing proceedings:
From 2007 through 2010, BORKER owned and operated “DecorMyEyes.com,” a Brooklyn, New York-based, online retailer that purportedly sold luxury eyewear. Victim statements, documented communications, and hundreds of complaints filed with the Federal Trade Commission and other consumer protection agencies by victims across the United States and abroad, indicated that BORKER was defrauding his customers. Specifically, customers of DecorMyEyes.com purchased what was advertised as luxury eyewear, but was in fact often defective, damaged, used, counterfeit, and did not come with a promised “certificate of authenticity.” In addition, the merchandise did not come directly from manufacturers, as represented by Borker, but rather, it had been purchased by BORKER on eBay and through intermediary vendors. On many occasions, BORKER also billed customers for unauthorized charges (such as a 20% “restocking fee” or unauthorized repair charges), failed to reimburse customers for returned or unfulfilled orders, or never sent merchandise for which customers had been charged.
When customers tried to return or exchange merchandise, or when they informed BORKER that they would report him to their credit card companies and consumer protection agencies, BORKER then subjected them to a campaign of aggressive, obscene, and intimidating conduct, typically using the aliases “Stanley Bolds” and “Tony Russo.” BORKER threatened customers that, among other things, he had their personal information, that he knew where they lived, and that he would inflict sexual and other violence upon them and their close family members.
For example, one Manhattan-based victim complained that she had not received the sunglasses she had purchased from DecorMyEyes.com in June 2010. When she spoke to BORKER, he called her a “stupid bitch” and a “cheap Jew,” and stated that he knew where she lived and could make her life a living hell. He later stated that the sunglasses she had ordered were out of stock and that she would have to pay a 20% “restocking fee.” When she did receive a pair of sunglasses, however, they were counterfeit. BORKER subsequently began calling her repeatedly, often in the middle of the night, stating that he was watching her, and threatening to “kick her ass” and rape her.
On repeated occasions, BORKER also threatened to, and did, send false and obscene e-mails to customers’ professional associates or colleagues. For example, BORKER sent e-mails to colleagues of a disgruntled customer and falsely claimed that he had an affair with the customer, and that the customer had engaged in professional misconduct. He wrote emails about the sexual preferences of other customers, and made claims that some of them were involved in drug dealing. These emails were also sent to his victims’ professional associates and colleagues.
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In addition to the prison term, Judge Sullivan sentenced BORKER, 35, of Brooklyn, New York, to three years of supervised release. BORKER was also ordered to pay over $96,000 in fines and restitution.
In sentencing Borker, Judge Sullivan said: “These were vile threats, and you were terrorizing these people.”
Mr. Bharara praised the work of the United States Postal Inspection Service for its outstanding work in the investigation.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys E. Danya Perry and Daniel W. Levy are in charge of the prosecution.