A Fraudster Who Just Can’t Seem to Stop … Selling Eyeglasses


What if they will’t assist it?

Fraudsters have been getting caught, convicted and despatched to jail for so long as there have been cages sturdy sufficient to carry defendants. Via perp walks and trials, the general public is left to ponder the audacity of the misconduct (as within the case of Elizabeth Holmes) or its damaging wake (Bernie Madoff) and marvel: What would possess somebody to commit a criminal offense so daring that it verges on the unbelievable?

One reply is supplied by the continuing and perplexing case of Vitaly Borker. A forty five-year-old native of Ukraine, Mr. Borker was arrested final week in Brooklyn by federal postal inspectors and charged with mail fraud and wire fraud. It’s his third tangle with the legislation for the equivalent accusation — bullying and dishonest prospects of his on-line eyeglasses retailer.

As compulsions go, this one appears peculiar. Mr. Borker apparently loves the exhausting work of hounding and threatening eyeglass patrons a lot that after greater than 5 years in jail, in two stints, he nonetheless doesn’t appear to have sought a brand new profession. Prosecutors within the U.S. legal professional’s workplace within the Southern District of New York allege that Mr. Borker didn’t even wait till he was a free man to start out bilking shoppers once more in June 2020. He was nonetheless in a midway home.

Dominic Amorosa, his lawyer, mentioned in an e mail that Mr. Borker meant to plead not responsible.

Enterprise and common tradition each prize relentlessness, even when it appears extreme. Michael Jordan used to think about that basketball opponents had personally insulted him with a purpose to turbocharge his hypercompetitive zeal. Loads of chief executives have a spotlight that may appear monomaniacal. Al Dunlap, a former chief government of the Sunbeam equipment firm and a person who introduced a predator’s pleasure to firing workers, was a key determine in a ebook referred to as “The Psychopath Take a look at.”

However these folks have little bother staying on the precise aspect of the legislation. For Mr. Borker, it seems to be a battle, although he these days has curbed the excesses of his early and most noxious strategies, suggesting that he understands there’s a line between authorized and unlawful habits.

In 2010, he ran a web site referred to as DecorMyEyes, which routinely despatched low-cost, counterfeit variations of glasses made by corporations similar to Dior and Chanel, and erupted right into a rage when refunds have been demanded.

Then he bought much more aggressive. Utilizing the pseudonym Stanley Bolds, he typically threatened to maim or homicide patrons. In a single case, he vowed to chop off a lady’s legs. In one other, he despatched an e mail with a photograph of a buyer’s condo constructing and a be aware that mentioned, “P.S. don’t overlook that I do know the place you reside.” He as soon as despatched emails to the colleagues of a buyer, informing them that the client was homosexual and dealt medication.

At 6 toes 5 inches tall, Mr. Borker would probably have loomed over anybody he wished to menace in particular person. However nobody has ever mentioned he adopted by way of on his bodily threats. Sufficient folks have been frightened, nevertheless, that they swamped message boards of shopper criticism websites, like getsatisfaction.com.

In a surprisingly candid interview per week earlier than his first arrest in 2010, Mr. Borker described his savage strategy to customer support because the vanguard of web commerce. Google searches, he claimed, didn’t distinguish between detrimental and constructive suggestions, so the extra individuals who shrieked about DecorMyEyes on-line, the upper his firm ranked in search outcomes.

On its weblog, Google introduced after his first arrest that it had tweaked its algorithm and that any more “being unhealthy to prospects is unhealthy for enterprise on Google.”

Within the newest case, Mr. Borker’s techniques have considerably mellowed. The criticism offered by the federal government describes a web-based vendor who may, in much less legalistic phrases, be described as a liar and a jerk.

His web site claimed to promote “brand-new and genuine designer eyeglasses and sun shades.” In truth, the criticism says, the glasses have been secondhand or faux. Mr. Borker additionally refused to offer refunds when prospects demanded them. Somebody recognized as Sufferer 2 did get a refund, however about $50 shy of a full one.

If Mr. Borker returns to jail, historical past suggests he’s unlikely to emerge reformed. On essentially the most fundamental stage, he merely enjoys the job. He as soon as defined to a reporter that he relished the chaos and frenetic vitality required to continually badger dozens of patrons.

“I just like the craziness,” he mentioned. “This works for me.”

In a earlier case, psychological well being specialists assigned by the courtroom concluded that Mr. Borker displayed signs of bipolar dysfunction, narcissism and obsessive-compulsive dysfunction.

In a pre-sentencing letter, he appeared to concur. “One thing is simply not proper inside my mind,” he wrote.


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