An e-retailer who dealt with customer complaints by threatening to kill or rape them has been jailed for four years.
Vitaly Borker, 35, sold specs online but had a nasty habit of pushing up his Google page ranking by getting bad reviews.
According to AP, he did this by having a business model that involved deliberately harassing and abusing and generally scaring the life out of customers in what US District Judge Richard Sullivan called a terror campaign.
Borker ran DecorMyEyes.com and discovered that negative online reviews and comments pushed up the site’s page ranking on Google. He was so proud of his bad service that he bragged about it in a 2010 article by the New York Times.
The judge noted that Borker was terrifying people, putting them in fear of their lives, and of being viciously raped.
Borker pleaded guilty last year to making threats and fraud charges. Prosecutors said more than 200 complaints against Borker had been filed with the Federal Trade Commission over the operation of his website, DecorMyEyes.com, between 2007 and 2010.
Borker said that he was “genuinely and deeply sorry for the awful threats that I made”. He said he never intended on carrying out the threats.
He just said that he had a big mouth he couldn’t control, and it ruined his life.
One Chicago resident told the court that Borker harassed her for a month and a half after she tried to take advantage of the website’s money-back guarantee.
He left her a voicemail message, saying: “I hope you die. I want to slice your legs off.”
Another Louisiana resident told the court that Borker threatened to kill her and her family and to stalk her relentlessly unless she stopped trying to get her money back.
Borker’s lawyer, Dominic Amorosa, pointed out that most of Borker’s customers were satisfied, with $18 million in revenue recorded from the sales of 100,000 glasses over several years. Only $2.9 million was refunded.
US Attorney Preet Bharara called Borker “an internet shopper’s worst nightmare.”