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Malicious Online Retailer Ordered Held Without Bail

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the fair-enough dept.

Businesses 225

Zaphod_85 writes "You may remember the New York Times story from a couple of weeks ago regarding Vitaly Borker, an online retailer intentionally harassing customers in order to gain linking points in Google's PageRank algorithm. Now, not only has Google altered their algorithm in order to prevent this tactic from being effective (Though according to Katherine Noyes at PCWorld, this tactic may never actually have been benefiting the website in the first place), Now Mr. Borker has the Feds to deal with. He is being charged with cyberstalking, wire fraud, mail fraud, and making interstate threats, and faces up to 50 years in prison if convicted on all counts. Given his disturbing behavior that brought about the charges, a federal judge has ordered he be held without bail while he awaits trial."

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Queue the libertarians.. (-1, Troll)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481962)

saying that the guy is being railroaded and it's all just free speech.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (1)

Afforess (1310263) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481988)

As I understand it, this guy was very very careful at how he worded his "threats" to his customers. I suspect any half-rate lawyer will be able to get him out scot free.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (5, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482050)

Really? The NYT article described it as "too graphic and violent to print in a newspaper", which hardly sounds like "carefully worded". Besides, "taking a picture of someone's home and sending them a message saying 'I'M WATCHING YOU'" is not only a verbal threat, but one involving an action. Frankly, I'm surprised it took two years to arrest this guy - if he tried it on me, I would have filed a police report within minutes.

And that still does nothing for the identity theft charges or the fraud. Hell, maybe we can get him on ACTA or something for selling counterfeits.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34482164)

He didn't take a picture of her home, he found it on street view.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482510)

There is a federal cyberstalking law?!?!?

Ok...what exactly does this law entail? I'd have to guess it was so broad that almost any internet action would be illegal??

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (3, Informative)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482736)

Under 18 U.S.C. 875(c), it is a federal crime, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, to transmit any communication in interstate or foreign commerce containing a threat to injure the person of another. Internet-based communication is not exempt. Is this something you do a lot?

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482828)

"Under 18 U.S.C. 875(c), it is a federal crime, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, to transmit any communication in interstate or foreign commerce containing a threat to injure the person of another. Internet-based communication is not exempt. Is this something you do a lot?"

Ok..thanks. It mentioned "commerce" in there...I was wondering how the feds could do this. Bastardizing interstate commerce again.

After reading this law...I have to ask myself, does ANYONE do this often? Is this really a problem that required a law?

Or..are the Feds just now trying to make any law for anything, and stick commerce in it, so they can try to enforce something?

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34483126)

Yeah, much better if everything is legal if it occurs in a grey area between states where neither state really has jurisdiction.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34483150)

After reading this law...I have to ask myself, does ANYONE do this often? Is this really a problem that required a law?

And... what answer did you get from yourself?

WHO@ stats [haltabuse.org] (one of the sources, may be others):

WHOA receives an estimated 50-75 cases per week. If victims fill out the entire questionnaire, which includes demographic information, that is what we use to properly calculate our statistics.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34483102)

to transmit any communication in interstate or foreign commerce containing a threat to injure the person of another.

It would have to be something more than "I am watching you".

There exist ways for evil people to send things that will scare people, with outright threatening they will injure the person.

If the shopkeeper sent a forged document or other communication to the bank withdrawing a credit card dispute, however, misrepresenting their identity.... that would seem to be a clear fraud; no different than posing as a bank account owner, at a teller window, and convincing the bank to let you "withdraw" $500 cash...

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (1)

igreaterthanu (1942456) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482652)

he found it on street view.

He stole Google's intellectual property and sent it to his customers? That is a matter of national security! [cnet.com]

This man must be stopped at all costs.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34482222)

Besides, "taking a picture of someone's home and sending them a message saying 'I'M WATCHING YOU'" is not only a verbal threat, but one involving an action.

Yeah, it involved him finding a picture of her address on google street view.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (1)

Afforess (1310263) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482232)

But threat's like "I'M WATCHING YOU", are completely legal under the first amendment. The Cyberstalking and interstate threat's charges are going to be kicked out pretty quickly. I'd be a lot more interested in the fraud accusations.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482352)

Technically, "I'm watching you", while it certainly sounds menacing to me, probably doesn't qualify as a threat, per se. It sounds creepy, certainly, but it doesn't threaten violence.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34482422)

Now some stranger says that to your wife. I'd take the fucker apart.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (0)

wickedskaman (1105337) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482618)

Are you having an affair with his wife? Is that why it would anger you so?

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34482660)

That's why you're insane. You're just waiting until most of society will sympathize with your actions.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34482300)

he also threatened to rape a female complaining customer which is why he was being charged according to another site.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34482682)

Hearsay. I hate to take the role of devil's advocate, but you really think a pissed off customer wouldn't fabricate claims to exact revenge on an online seller?

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34482956)

Easy question. Most people I know are capable of doing the above, provided they meet their own personal definition of justice.

IME the people's sense of justice is determined by two factors: how closely the person is intimately involved, and the lovingly embraced coverage by the media.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (2)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482992)

I guess it's hearsay to you and I since we're getting our info from the media rather than the complainant. The FBI, OTOH, have no doubt spoken to the complainant directly so it is not hearsay to them. It may still be a false complaint, of course. Or there may be a record of the threat if it was made by email or a phone call that was recorded.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482698)

Yes, call the po-lice [youtube.com]

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482090)

was he also very careful about the mail fraud and wire fraud?

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34481990)

...and cue the people who can't tell queue, cue and que apart.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (4, Funny)

ZipK (1051658) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482006)

OP was suggesting that objecting libertarians be formed into a line.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (1)

blueapples (614410) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482344)

OP was suggesting that objecting libertarians be formed into a line

and shot?

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34482634)

No, snorted.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (1)

shawb (16347) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482026)

What...? He wants all the libertarians to stand patiently in a line. At the end of the day, isn't that what we all really want?

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34482086)

With 10 libertarians you would have 10 lines each 1 libertarian deep

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (1)

Megahard (1053072) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482260)

This [movieclips.com] is what came to mind for a line of people for this guy.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (4, Insightful)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482084)

"Fraud" has fuck all to do with free speech. You won't find any "libertarian" defense of stalking one's customers and threatening people with bodily harm.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (3, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482174)

Indeed, you'd probably find more libertarians who'd support the right of the stalked to shoot said stalker. Especially when he's threatened them.

Indeed, fraud is very much NOT on the list of things that libertarians want to legalize.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34482436)

"Indeed, fraud is very much NOT on the list of things that libertarians want to legalize, if they are not benefiting from its commission."

FIFY.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482704)

Indeed, you'd probably find more libertarians who'd support the right of the stalked to shoot said stalker.

That's the part people forget.

We wouldn't need so much protection by the government if we were allowed to protect ourselves.

A response of "Try it and I'll cut your fucking balls off" would have sent this guy off looking for easier prey, particularly if castration was considered a legitimate defense against rape.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (0, Troll)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482784)

the libertarians would consider the regulatory and law enforcement infrastructure to catch and punish the stalker to be intrusive expensive bureaucracy our taxes shouldn't pay for

additionally, they would insist on taking justice in their own hands, since every yahoo with a gun is a perfect judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to matter of justice

libertarianism is mirror image of communism: equally foolish and equally destructive. communism's folly is altruism conquers all. libertarianism's folly is selfishness conquers all. both mirror image ideologies fail, because true human nature is both altruistic and selfish at the same time, like two sides of a coin. the only effective ideology in this world is one which reflects the nature of the humans you are attempting to foist it on: a moderate mix, not an extreme like communism or libertarianism. socialism with a capitalist engine, or capitalism with socialist safety nets: these are the ideal ideologies. moderation is the king. all other ideologies fail

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34482106)

You mean cue the dishonest scumbags who hate libertarianism but know they aren't mentally competent to make an intelligent argument against it, and as such are willing to settle for implying that it means something entirely different from what it actually is.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34482156)

Queue the morons that don't know what a libertarian is.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (0)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482638)

You mean, the libertarians?

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34482318)

Libertarians don't like threats to extort money, whether it's email or enabled by the politics of envy.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482408)

Apparently you don't know many libertarians. Freedom of speech doesn't mean you get to make threats with impunity. Libertarians want criminals punished just like anyone else does.

-jcr

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34482712)

The libertarians want the criminals punished, but don't want courts, police, jails, or the like. I guess they just want a tree and a rope. They believe that whatever crowd has the better numbers and armament to pronounce sentence.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34482762)

You have never met a libertarian who believes that. You cannot name a single one.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482798)

>The libertarians want the criminals punished, but don't want courts, police, jails, or the like

Only the anarchists. Most libertarians have no issue with government operating a criminal justice system. What we object to are things like embargoes and undeclared wars.

-jcr

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (2)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482988)

Where you get this idea I am uncertain, but that's not how it works.

Libertarians want the government the U.S. originally intended to have. It was all a REALLY good idea based on the notion of getting rid of all the crap and nonsense that England's government was imposing and never wanted to see again. Well, it's back and stronger in many ways. For example, the tax rates imposed by England would be a dream come true by today:s standards.

As for justice, no. The Libertarian stance on crime in general might appear as if it is a criminal's "free for all" position, but that would be a mistaken interpretation. Laws based on morality would be removed, but not laws based on individual safety and good public conduct. For example, it would still condemn the case under discussion. But matters between consenting adults and the right of people to put whatever crap they want into their own bodies [drugs] would be defended. Not that it is relevant here, but Sane Libertarians also seek to protect child development by defending them against child labor, sexual molestation and other forms of abuse that would inhibit them from growing into healthy adults who are capable of leading healthy, self-sustaining lives.

Libertarianism just seems far too different from what we generally accept as common sense and wisdom. But when you think it through rationally, it makes a lot more sense than what we are doing now. The short of it is "your rights end where mine begin." Once you adapt your view around that simple notion, you will begin to see where things are wrong. For you to tell me that I should be forced to live my life based on YOUR ideals and morality is just as stupid as you being forced to live your life based on MY ideals and morality. But there are some constants that must still be maintained and I see those as self-evident as well.

"Don't want courts"? Really? It:s provided for in the US Constitution. Libertarians just want the constitution followed in spirit and intent. This includes the institutions of courts, police, prisons and more. They are simply necessary for a healthy society. As you see things for the way they are, you will find that a lot of violent crimes (certainly not all) are connected with the operation of business that is determined to be illegal. For example, the drug trade sees gang violence just the same as it was when alcohol was illegal. Why we repealed prohibition of alcohol but not other drugs is pretty stupid -- the truths are pretty much the same. Once alcohol was legalized and controlled, violence related to the alcohol trade all but disappeared. The same would be true of the drug trade.

Many people fail to see cause and effect for what it really is. Crime is very often the effect of bad law.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34482542)

Why the fuck don't you know the difference between "queue" and "cue?" You ignorant, slack-jawed sack of shit. Cue the slash-fags taking a hot load of jizz in the face.

Re:Queue the libertarians.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34482610)

I say we take said libertarians, this guy, and lock them in a windowless room together. Give the Libertarians that say people should be able to defend themselves, violently if necessary, an appropriate sidearm. And, then take the "libertarians" that say this asshat should be able to do whatever the hell he wants to anyone he wants and bind their wrists to their ankles. After all, who are they to try to stop him? The ones that mention the free market get to go in without any pants. Protections hinder the free market after all.

Oh, I'm sorry. I guess I'm bitter when it comes to the libertarian equivalent of the Green Party's watermelons.

DecorMyCell.com (4, Funny)

ZipK (1051658) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481992)

How long until he gets his new business rolling?

Re:DecorMyCell.com (5, Informative)

clem.dickey (102292) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482780)

Modded funny. Okay, but perhaps the moderators have forgotten the case of Norman Henry Hunt. Mr. Hunt was convicted of mail fraud (phony computer parts). He escaped from prison, was caught and convicted again (more mail fraud, plus the escape). After the second conviction, he was found to be running a mail order business out of a P.O. Box at NNCC. His ads represented NNCC as the Northern Nevada Computing Center; it was actually the Northern Nevada *Correctional* Center.

Re:DecorMyCell.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34483190)

I've googled the name "Norman Henry Hunt" and don't see any information. Perhaps you could provide a link as I'm interested in reading about this.

Real-life trolls (5, Insightful)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481994)

This would be why trolling doesn't tend to work as well in real life, when there are real-life consequences, as it does on the internet when there's little chance (absent clever data-wrangling techniques and a little stalking) of your words coming back to bite you.

Re:Real-life trolls (4, Insightful)

RsG (809189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482120)

This guy wasn't trolling.

Trolls are in it for the pleasure they get from pissing people off. This guy was in it for the money. Everything he (allegedly) did was motivated by greed.

Which is why he gets the metaphorical book thrown at him and 4chan does not. The scumbag sold counterfeit goods and made threatening phone calls to people who complained or disputed the charges; he generated a paper trail in the form of credit card charges, phone records, etc. Finding him would be trivial for the courts.

All he could do once the matter came to light was cut and run, which he didn't do (might be overconfidence, ignorance or stupidity).

Re:Real-life trolls (2)

wickedskaman (1105337) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482636)

One could argue he did it for the moneys AND the lulz. They aren't mutually exclusive.

Re:Real-life trolls (1)

krazytekn0 (1069802) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482640)

Just to clarify, the courts don't find him, the Cops do. Courts don't really care if they find anyone with subpoena's orders or anything else. It's up to flatfoots (feet?) to make it happen.

Don't be a Jew on Christmas (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34482972)

--Salvation Army

I don't think I'd call this just trolling (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482258)

I don't think I'd call this guy just trolling.

On the internet even from the start trolling meant just something crafted to create as many responses as possible, rather than rape threats. As the dictum went, "Confucius say: successful troll is master baiter" ;) Really, it didn't even have to be offensive or explicit or illegal. It could be something as indirect as asking which Linux distro has IE.

And in the meantime it's largely become a synonym with "someone saying something I disagree with." Someone calling one's pet conspiracy theory a conspiracy theory? Someone else posting a bit of textbook science that contradicts one's ID beliefs? Someone else disagreeing that <insert game flop> is TEH GRATEST GAME EVAR? Someone else disagreed in another thread entirely? Well, they must be trolls and only saying that to get attention ;) But seriously, I've even seen textbook physics quotes modded as troll or overrated. It's just become the blanket excuse to not use one's brains and hang on to some pet dogma or half-truth: anyone disagreeing must be just trolling for attention.

What this guy did is a bit beyond mere trolling. And I suspect that even the trolling excuse was just an excuse. Threatening to rape someone asking for a refund and mailing them photos of their home with texts like "I'M WATCHING YOU" and whatnot, is the kind of asshattery even most Internet trolls would distance themselves from very quickly. That's already way beyond just seeking attention.

If anything, this just gives the lie to the old marketing canard that all exposure is good, and there is no such thing as bad publicity. I've seen it repeated in so many places, that it's not even funny. It turns out that, yes, there is bad publicity. Not only it can cross into being flat out illegal, but there's a very good case to be made that all that Google rank via people talking about how badly he treats customers, actually didn't benefit him. Getting mind-share as a dangerously deranged asshat to avoid can be just that: it just moves one from an unknown company to being the well known asshat company to avoid.

Re:I don't think I'd call this just trolling (1, Offtopic)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482576)

You composed this comment with EMACS, didn't you?

Re:I don't think I'd call this just trolling (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482724)

No way, it had to be Vim!

Re:I don't think I'd call this just trolling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34482722)

This piece of shit is lucky he didn't pull this shit on me or someone I care about. Instead of arresting him, they'd be picking up little pieces of him from all over brooklyn.

Re:I don't think I'd call this just trolling (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 3 years ago | (#34483144)

This piece of shit is lucky he didn't pull this shit on me or someone I care about. Instead of arresting him, they'd be picking up little pieces of him from all over brooklyn.

Mr. Internet tough guy posts as an Anonymous Coward, lulz.

Re:I don't think I'd call this just trolling (3, Insightful)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482896)

Yeah, definitely no troll here. This is far worse. If you read the full interview, it's pretty clear the man is a certified sociopath. He has absolutely no moral compass... no notion of right or wrong. No notion that doing something to harm others is something you should even worry about.

I hope they throw the book at him. Unbelievable.

Oh, and I was happy to hear that Amazon doesn't screw around with allowing this sort of behavior (even if he does have an Amazon store). Too many unhappy customers and you're gone. One more reason I'm doing all my Christmas shopping through Amazon this year.

Oh well. (2, Funny)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482034)

I was hoping this guy would get murdered when he ripped off the wrong guy. I guess getting raped in prison for 50 years will have to do.

Re:Oh well. (4, Insightful)

enderjsv (1128541) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482052)

He's not going to jail for 50 years. Journalists love to quote maximum jail sentences even though it's rare the maximum sentence is ever dealt.

Re:Oh well. (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482172)

He's not going to jail for 50 years. Journalists love to quote maximum jail sentences even though it's rare the maximum sentence is ever dealt.

This is especially true with federal cases, where there are seperate explicit sentencing guidelines which work out so that, particularly with multiple charged counts, adding up the maximum available sentence for each offense is often vastly more than the sentence that would be justified taking the charged facts at face value with the sentencing guidelines applied.

Re:Oh well. (4, Funny)

theskipper (461997) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482178)

Agreed. Though this particular asshole deserves the full stretch.

Pun intended.

Re:Oh well. (1)

Zaphod_85 (1954828) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482206)

Sadly, you're completely correct. Though from other stories I've read (that I wasn't able to find to quote in the post) he may also be facing charges from New York state as well as federal charges, so maybe we'll all get lucky and this guy will go away for the rest of his life.

Re:Oh well. (2)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482540)

If we got lucky he would repent and spend the rest of his life doing something productive, or at least not harmful. Imprisonment is a pretty shitty outcome for society as a whole.

Re:Oh well. (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482614)

That's an ideal, but I just don't see it. Given how flagrant and shameless this man sounded, I'd be skeptical of any repentance if it was ever made. Feigned repentance is usually a con's way of trying to get out of being punished.

Re:Oh well. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34482788)

Apparently you didn't read TFA, where he sounded quite stable, logical, and aware of his actions. He was even able to behave normally, as shown by his Amazon dealings. Really, the only outstanding thing here is, this man is a simple commoner extorting people, and not a powerful and above-criticism CEO or lawyer.

Re:Oh well. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34483136)

Hell I'd go so far to say he sounds the typical manager. Total asshole to everyone... by 5 o'clock puts on batcape and becomes hero to family. Some people would commit murder if it meant their wife/kids living well.

Re:Oh well. (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482484)

Death is too good for this slime. Rape is too good for this slime. I say toss him in a cell with Sanford Wallace and let them duke it out. Oh, I forgot to mention, cut off their limbs first so we're left with two screaming torsos.

Yeah.

Re:Oh well. (1)

bieber (998013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482728)

I would never wish such things on a person, but I am genuinely surprised that none of his burned customers ever tracked him down and beat him. You would think that ripping people off that blatantly when they can get a hold of your real name would be more dangerous...

Time to change his name... (2)

stavrica (701765) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482040)

From Borker to Borkee...

Re:Time to change his name... (1)

slashgimp (513115) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482416)

wow - a guy named Borker being sent to prison really puts a new spin on "bork bork bork" :D

Based on what I have read about the guy... (4, Insightful)

Constantin (765902) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482082)

... and hey, it's nothing more than an online article, I say good riddance. Threatening folk repeatedly with bodily harm, impersonating them to credit card companies, etc. should be a fast-pass lane to being disbarred from operating a business and going to jail without passing go and without collecting $200.

What troubled me about Mr. Borkers story more than anything is how easily he circumvented the various red-flag tripwires that credit card companies allegedly employ. And the allegation that he successfully impersonated a customer withdrawing a claim against him shows not only chutzpah but a big security hole over at the credit card company.

Bottom line is that the internet has allowed all sorts of scams to go nationwide and unless one can interest the Feds (via publicity in this case), one is SOL. Thus, he may serve as a business blueprint for a lot more scammers going forward.

Re:Based on what I have read about the guy... (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482176)

As far as the credit card company is concerned, I suspect intentional gullibility. "Oh really, Mrs. So-and-so, it's odd that you sound like a man, but you said the magic words 'I'm dropping the request to reverse the charges', and that's good enough for us."

If all it takes to nix a credit card holder's attempt to reverse charges is a phone call saying "I'm so-and-so", then there's a serious problem with verification of identity.

Re:Based on what I have read about the guy... (2)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482366)

"Oh really, Mrs. So-and-so, it's odd that you sound like a man, but you said the magic words 'I'm dropping the request to reverse the charges', and that's good enough for us."

I don't know about your credit card holder, but I have to enter a fair amount of data to prove I am who I say I am with American Express. I am pretty sure you can't just call up an 800 number and say "this is sally johnson, forget about reversing the charges on card number 1234..." and have them take it sincerely.

Re:Based on what I have read about the guy... (4, Interesting)

billcopc (196330) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482528)

I have to enter a fair amount of data to prove I am who I say I am with American Express

Right... and most of that information is available to an online retailer once you've made a purchase. Home address, phone numbers, legal name, heck you could easily ask for a DOB even though it's not required, and most people will blindly enter it. That pretty much covers most identity questions, and a simple "friendly" phone call can fill in a few other blanks like spouse's name, stuff like that. If credit cards were even borderline secure, I'd still have one. I prefer cash, because if someones screws with my cash, they have to be within pummeling distance, and that's the kind of security I like.

Re:Based on what I have read about the guy... (1)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482558)

Good point. So maybe some soc. engineering. And hey, he used a website.

They'll be painting this guy like a super hacker by the morning edition...

Re:Based on what I have read about the guy... (5, Insightful)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482226)

>> What troubled me about Mr. Borkers story more than anything is how easily he circumvented the various red-flag tripwires that credit card companies allegedly employ.

More than that, what took it so long to nail him? There has been over 200 complaints filed with FTC against him, but it had to be reported by NYT for the US attorney to wake up?

Re:Based on what I have read about the guy... (2)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482990)

This should make you feel real good about your credit card security:

http://www.zug.com/pranks/visa/index.html [zug.com]

It's a few years old now, but I don't think things have changed all that much in this arena.

Additional charges being considere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34482108)

FYI - from the article it appears that there are potential weapons charges coming (unlicensed possession of an automatic weapon) and possibly kiddie pr0n. That, and the guys lawyer doesn't seem good - "No one suffered any physical harm". Buddy, good luck with that one.

Re:Additional charges being considere (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482192)

I'm thinking the guy is probably a lunatic, and it seems to me that the real fault lies with a whole lot of other entities from the credit card company to the cops who dropped the ball on this one. Clearly they were not taking this seriously, even after this lunatic had made explicit graphic sexual threats against the woman and had committed a clear act of fraud and identity theft by posing as her to get the reversal of charges reversed. A whole lot of people should be hanging their heads in shame for letting this poor woman suffer so much because of a whacko. They're the ones that deserve the jail sentence just as much as him.

Re:Additional charges being considere (0)

wickedskaman (1105337) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482664)

The problem is the police needed EVIDENCE for all these allegations. If the police arrested based on every passionate claim there would be a lot more wrongful arrest suits.

He dun goofed. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34482160)

The cyberpolice backtraced him, and consequences will never be the same!

I'm Surprised He's in Good Health (4, Insightful)

mikestew (1483105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482214)

I don't mean to play anonymous Internet tough guy here, but I'm really surprised that someone who tells customers with a legitimate complain "I know where you live" still has full use of both knee caps. I would have thought by now he would have pissed off the wrong person who happens to be within driving distance. Then again, when it comes to the stacks of money he's making, maybe he's full of shit and doesn't have that many customers to piss off.

Re:I'm Surprised He's in Good Health (1)

bieber (998013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482748)

I was wondering the same thing after reading the article. My guess is that he probably has body guards who deal at his level of shadiness...

Re:I'm Surprised He's in Good Health (2)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482982)

I think he simply banks on the likelyhood that his customers are not sociopaths (unlike him), and prefer to go through the proper channels of authority when confronted by clearly illegal and threatening behavior.

Yeah, I hear you though. I got pretty steamed reading that story. Part of me does sometimes wish someone would take matters into their own hand and turn his kneecaps into jello, but that course of action rarely ends well, even in the movies.

About the best you can say about the authorities is, apparently, I guess they eventually do their job if you scream loud and long enough. Sort of depressing...

All the Brooklyn Camera stores do it too... (5, Informative)

RJarett (114128) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482262)

Every electronics/camera store in Brooklyn has been doing this for decades. They are all scammers and conartists.

Shanties and warehouses, or fake addresses, but websites with greymarket and fake products.

Examples of the stores im talking about:
http://donwiss.com/pictures/BrooklynStores/ [donwiss.com]

The FTC has done nothing about it.

People place products thinking they can get it cheaper, and then when they talk to the store the sales people scream and cuss at them if they don't buy addons they "must" buy (like power cords and batteries).

For every 1 reputable company based in NYC and NJ there are hundreds which are ran y petty criminals.

Re:All the Brooklyn Camera stores do it too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34482424)

Before I knew better I bought a digital camera at best price from brooklyn. They called me and asked to add on memory card and crap, I just flat out said no and I got my camera fine, no problems.

Re:All the Brooklyn Camera stores do it too... (2)

jginspace (678908) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482480)

People place products thinking they can get it cheaper, and then when they talk to the store the sales people scream and cuss at them if they don't buy addons they "must" buy (like power cords and batteries).

For every 1 reputable company based in NYC and NJ there are hundreds which are ran y petty criminals.

aah ... brings back memories of tsim sha tsui, kowloon. folks spending two whole days of their vacation getting yelled at and insulted so they can save $50 on a camera.

Good! Hope he gets raped! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34482264)

Here's to hoping he gets raped repeatedly!

Pinch me.... (1)

scurvyj (1158787) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482360)

.....this is too good.

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The return of reputation. (2)

jcr (53032) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482454)

One of the wonderful things about the internet, is that it's restoring some of the accountability that we once had when living in small communities where most people knew each other. For a pretty long time, if an unscrupulous vendor screwed you over, your only options were either to sue them (expensive) or hope that your local government would punish them for you or your local TV "consumer beat" reporter would find your story interesting enough to give it some air time.

Today though, it's amazingly easy to check out anyone you're considering doing business with by looking them up on the net. The guy in this story will most likely be out of business, and soon.

-jcr

Re:The return of reputation. (1)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482918)

Expensive? It costs me exactly $25 to file small claims in my locality. Long-arm jurisdiction means I can sue any vendor in the US who operates in my county. Maximum amount is $3500. If they don't show up, they lose. What's expensive about this?

I think I sat this for all us... (0)

BlackBloq (702158) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482478)

Eat the big dick you fuckwad! Now take your hand, make a big middle finger, turn your hand around and point it at yourself!! mwahahaha!

Finally (1)

Dthief (1700318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482516)

I'm happy this happened. When this story was earlier on /. I was asking where are the police in all of this.....threats of sexual assault and "I'm watching you" accompanied by photos of one's house are quite disturbing.

DecorMyAss (1)

Christian Marks (1932350) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482630)

Good thing he wasn't leaking classified documents or he'd be in real trouble.

SEO is dead (2)

davek (18465) | more than 3 years ago | (#34482666)

He is being charged with cyberstalking, wire fraud, mail fraud, and making interstate threats, and faces up to 50 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

FIFTY YEARS? Holy crap. I am so glad I got out of SEO. Shady, shady business is that industry.

Give credit ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34482824)

... to Joe Nocera, the NY Times columnist who wrote the story.

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