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Notorious eyecare fraudster nabbed third time

NEW YORK (AP) – A notorious fraudster convicted a decade ago for cheating online eyeglass customers and harassing some of them with grisly threats was arrested on Friday for a third time after resuming internet-based criminal behaviour soon after getting out of prison nearly two years ago, a prosecutor said.

Vitaly Borker, 45, of Brooklyn was charged with two counts of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. At an initial appearance in Manhattan federal court, he was ordered held without bail as a danger to continue defrauding people if he is free while awaiting trial. Defence attorney Dominic Amorosa said in an email that Borker will plead not guilty if he is indicted on the charges.

The latest charges against Borker accuse him of continuing fraudulent tactics in selling eyeglasses to online customers. Some claims were similar to charges in the previous two cases against him, alleging he advertised discounted designer sunglasses and eyeglasses but often delivered shoddy, used or counterfeit products. A criminal complaint said he began defrauding customers after he was moved from a prison to a residential reentry centre in June 2020 after completing most of a two-year prison sentence he received in April 2019.

At that sentencing, Judge Paul Gardephe said that in over two decades as a judge and prosecutor he had never seen someone return “so quickly to exactly the same crime after doing four years, a harsh sentence.”

The Ukrainian immigrant violated terms of his release by resuming fraud after serving a four-year prison sentence for harassing customers from 2007 to 2015.

Each of two counts of wire fraud carry the maximum potential of 20-year prison terms while a conviction for aggravated identity theft would require Borker to serve a mandatory two-year prison sentence in addition to any sentence on other charges.


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