Ah, the world is back in order. Bad business is, once again, bad for business.
Authorities arrested Vitaly Borker in his Beaumont Street home in Manhattan Beach yesterday morning. The online retailer became notorious after boasting to the New York Times about threatening and intimidating customers – not to mention selling them phony goods – with a theory that negative reviews would increase his Google ranking. The story even spurred the All Mighty Google into action, creating quick fixes to its algorithms to make merchants like Borker less successful.
But then a slew of lawmen got involved, and they sure aren’t taking it easy on Borker:
The merchant, Vitaly Borker, 34, who operates a Web site called decormyeyes.com, was charged with one count each of mail fraud, wire fraud, making interstate threats and cyberstalking. The mail fraud and wire fraud charges each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The stalking and interstate threats charges carry a maximum sentence of five years.
He was arrested early Monday by agents of the United States Postal Inspection Service. In an arraignment in the late afternoon in United States District Court in Lower Manhattan, Judge Michael H. Dolinger denied Mr. Borker’s request for bail, stating that the defendant was either “verging on psychotic” or had “an explosive personality.” Mr. Borker will be detained until a preliminary hearing, scheduled for Dec. 20.
… He has already been charged with aggravated harassment and stalking by local authorities and is scheduled to be arraigned on those charges on Dec. 22. The state attorney general’s office is conducting its own investigation and could bring additional state charges.
But federal law enforcement seemed eager to partake as well. In a statement released Monday, Preet Bharara, United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, said, “Vitaly Borker, an alleged cyberbully and fraudster, cheated his customers, and when they complained, tried to intimidate them with obscenity and threats of serious violence.”
At the arraignment, an assistant United States attorney, E. Danya Perry, argued against bail by claiming that Mr. Borker was both a flight risk and a risk to the community. She said that postal inspectors had carted off boxes of apparently counterfeit eyeglasses after searching Mr. Borker’s home and had also found a handful of guns, including a semiautomatic machine gun.
… A far more subdued version of Mr. Borker appeared in court on Monday afternoon. Dressed in jeans and a button-down shirt, he said little. When he was led away by court officers, he turned to look at his wife, who was sitting in the courtroom. He appeared grief stricken and on the verge of tears.
“Sorry,” he whispered to her, as he was escorted through a side door.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why it pays not to be an asshole.