Repeat offender charged for third time in connection with fraudulent eyewear website | USAO-SDNY

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 United States Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”), announced the arrest of VITALY BORKER, operator of “EyeglassesDepot.com”, an online retailer of purported designer eyewear. BORKER was arrested following a complaint accusing him of mail and wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in a scheme to defraud customers by misrepresenting the authenticity and condition of the glasses sold on the website. BORKER was arrested this morning and will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stewart D. Aaron later today.

US Attorney Damian Williams said: “Following the intervention of Vitaly Borker second conviction by this Bureau for Fraud-Related Offenses, my predecessor asked the rhetorical question whether “Federal prison will make this sleazy businessman realize that seeking to make money through fraud and intimidation is a way to prison…” Apparently, that’s not the case. As alleged, just after his release from federal prison, serial fraudster Vitaly Borker returned to his illegal conduct related to online eyewear businesses.

USPIS Acting Inspector in Charge Edwards said, “Mr. Borker would be up to his old tricks to scam those looking for glasses online. Make no mistake, whenever Mr. Borker breaks the law, postal inspectors have no problem bringing him to justice for his ongoing criminal activities.

As alleged in the unsealed complaint today[1]:

As of at least June 2020, after being released from federal custody and entering a residential rehabilitation center, VITALY BORKER operated an eyeglass sales and repair website called EyeglassesDepot.com. EyeglassesDepot.com claims, among other things, that it sells “brand new, 100% authentic eyeglasses and sunglasses” and has “thousands of pairs of glasses in stock…ready to ship as soon as possible.” TODAY”. In truth, however, eyeglasses sold to EyeglassesDepot.com customers were often used and/or counterfeit. Rather than carrying an extensive inventory of “new, 100% authentic eyewear,” EyeglassesDepot.com filled customer orders by purchasing comparable items from a third-party online marketplace (the “Marketplace”). Glasses purchased by EyeglassesDepot.com from the Marketplace were often used and/or counterfeit, but EyeglassesDepot.com passed the glasses off as new and genuine. Additionally, while EyeglassesDepot.com claims to be a “leader in sunglasses and eyewear repair” and able to “fit any eyeglasses or sunglasses with your custom prescriptions”, customers who sent glasses at EyeglassesDepot.com had their glasses not repaired at all and/or otherwise received an unsatisfactory job.

In order to conceal its role in the operation of EyeglassesDepot.com, BORKER – which has twice already been sentenced in this district of crimes related to its 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 carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of aggravated impersonation, which is punishable by an additional two-year mandatory consecutive 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 Bureau’s General Crimes Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Weinberg is in charge of the prosecution.