Recidivist Defendant Charged In Connection With Fraudulent Eyewear Website For The Third Time
Damian Williams, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Darnell D. Edwards, Acting Inspector in Charge of the New York Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”), announced the arrest of VITALY BORKER, the operator of “EyeglassesDepot.com,” an online retailer of purported designer eyewear. BORKER was arrested pursuant to a complaint charging him with mail and wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection with a scheme to defraud customers by misrepresenting the authenticity and condition of eyeglasses sold through the website. BORKER was arrested this morning and will be presented later today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stewart D. Aaron.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Upon Vitaly Borker’s second conviction by this Office for fraud-related offenses, my predecessor posed the rhetorical question of whether ‘federal prison will impress upon this shady businessman that seeking to make money by fraud and intimidation is a path to prison...’ Apparently, it has not. As alleged, just after his release from federal prison, serial fraudster Vitaly Borker reverted back to his illegal conduct connected to online eyewear businesses.”
USPIS Acting Inspector in Charge Edwards said: “Mr. Borker is allegedly up to his old tricks of bilking those looking for online eyewear. Make no mistake, each time Mr. Borker breaks the law, Postal Inspectors have no problem with bringing him to justice for his continued criminal activity.”
As alleged in the Complaint unsealed today:
Beginning in at least June 2020, after being released from federal custody and entering a Residential Reentry Center, VITALY BORKER operated an eyewear sales and repair services website called EyeglassesDepot.com. EyeglassesDepot.com claims, among other things, that it sells “brand new and 100% authentic designer eyeglasses and sunglasses” and that it has “thousands of pairs of glasses in stock…ready for shipping as early as TODAY.” In truth, however, the eyewear sold to customers of EyeglassesDepot.com was often used and/or counterfeit. Rather than carrying a large inventory of “brand new and 100% authentic eyewear,” EyeglassesDepot.com filled its customers’ orders by purchasing comparable items on a third-party online marketplace (the “Marketplace”). The eyewear purchased by EyeglassesDepot.com from the Marketplace was often used and/or counterfeit, but EyeglassesDepot.com passed off the glasses as new and authentic. In addition, while EyeglassesDepot.com claims to be a “leader in the repair of sunglasses and eyeglasses” and able to “fit any eyeglasses or sunglasses with your custom prescriptions,” customers who sent eyewear to EyeglassesDepot.com either did not have their eyewear repaired at all and/or otherwise received unsatisfactory work.
In order to conceal his role in operating EyeglassesDepot.com, BORKER – who has twice previously been convicted in this District of crimes relating to his operation of eyewear websites – assumed the identities of two other individuals in connection with the operation of EyeglassesDepot.com.
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BORKER, 45, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with mail fraud and wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries a additional mandatory consecutive two year sentence. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of these defendants would be determined by a judge.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the USPIS.
This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Weinberg is in charge of the prosecution.