Eyewear website operator sentenced to 2 more years in prison
NEW YORK (AP) — An eyewear website operator who was sentenced to four years in prison after threatening customers with rape and murder was ordered Thursday to serve an additional two years in prison by an angry New York judge who said the unrepentant businessman mocked the criminal justice system with lies and deception after his release.
U.S. District Judge Richard J. Sullivan banned Vitaly Borker from using computers and criticized his behavior after his 2015 release from prison as “shameful.”
“You are not to own or use a computer, period,” Sullivan told the 41-year-old Ukrainian immigrant who was convicted of fraud after harassing customers from 2007 to 2010.
At a 2012 hearing, one victim testified Borker left her a voicemail message saying he hoped she died and he wanted to slice her legs off. Another said Borker threatened to kill her and her family unless she stopped demanding a refund. Sullivan said victims’ claims they were threatened with rape and murder were “highly credible.”
Defense lawyer Dominic Amorosa sought leniency, saying Borker told court officials after his release that he was assisting with the sale of glasses remaining from his previous business.
“There was no systematic fraud here,” he said. “I don’t believe the facts here are as bad as you might believe.”
The judge said Borker violated probation by lying to U.S. officers who monitored his activities, making it seem he had distanced himself from online sales of eyeglasses and was following rules set by Sullivan at a September 2012 sentencing.
“I hope that I won’t see you in a courtroom again,” Sullivan told Borker then, according to a transcript the judge read aloud Thursday.
The judge cited Borker’s lack of remorse and called him “incorrigible.”
The new sentence was in addition to whatever Borker could face if he is convicted of charges filed after his arrest last May on charges he was again peddling shoddy glasses online as premium ware. No trial date has been set for that case, which is before a different judge.
“He is insisting he is not guilty of these frauds,” Amorosa said.
Sullivan ordered Borker imprisoned last June. He heard testimony last month before concluding Borker violated rules Sullivan said must be followed after Borker’s release.
He said actions Borker took to hide his eyeglass sale activities were “absolutely deliberate” and “deceitful.” He warned Borker that he could not continue to lie to probation officers and the court.
“This is a lesson you have to keep learning again and again,” he said.
Prosecutors had requested the two-year sentence while Amorosa had asked that Borker serve no more than eight additional months.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicolas Landsman-Roos said Borker used “multiple layers of deception,” including a fake job, to deceive probation officers while he engaged in “the same crime the defendant was convicted of.”
As a shackled Borker shuffled from court, he called out to his mother, who rested her head in her hands.