Weekly Roundup of New York Criminal Cases for February 25, 2022

Last edited on Friday, February 25, 2022, at 3:16 PM.

Welcome to The Blanch Law Firm’s weekly digest of New New York Criminal Cases. Our goal is to keep the public informed as to recent events in federal courts around the country. 

As always, unless otherwise disclosed, none of the defendants mentioned in these summaries are clients of our firm.

If you or someone you love has been charged with a state or federal criminal charge, or you are under investigation by the federal government, our top-rated attorneys are here to help.

Call us now for a free and completely confidential attorney phone consultation at (212) 736-3900.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Eyewear Retailer Facing Charges for Fraudulent Website for Third Time

On Feb. 18, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, along with the Acting Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s (USPIS) New York Office, Darnell D. Edwards, announced the arrest of Vitaly Borker, 45, of Brooklyn, New York, who operates “EyeglassesDepot.com,” an online retailer of what he claims is designer eyewear.

Bork was arrested pursuant to a complaint charging him with mail and wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection with a scheme to defraud customers by misrepresenting the authenticity and condition of eyeglasses sold through the website.  Borker was arrested on Feb. 18 and was presented later that day before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stewart D. Aaron.

According to the Complaint against Borker, beginning in at least June 2020, after being released from federal custody and entering a Residential Reentry Center, Vitaly Borker operated an eyewear sales and repair services website he called EyeglassesDepot.com, which claims, among other things, that it sells “brand new and 100% authentic designer eyeglasses and sunglasses” and that it has “thousands of pairs of glasses in stock…ready for shipping as early as TODAY.” 

Unfortunately, rather than carrying a large inventory of “brand new and 100% authentic eyewear,” as the website claimed, the site usually filled its customers’ orders by purchasing comparable items on a third-party online marketplace (the Marketplace), which was often used and/or counterfeit, although EyeglassesDepot.com passed off the glasses as new and authentic.  

Additionally, whereas EyeglassesDepot.com claims it is a “leader in the repair of sunglasses and eyeglasses” and able to “fit any eyeglasses or sunglasses with your custom prescriptions,” customers who sent eyewear to EyeglassesDepot.com either did not have their eyewear repaired at all and/or otherwise received unsatisfactory work.

Ex-Union Official Charged with Defrauding Union and Membership

On Feb. 23, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, along with the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s New York Office, and NYPD Commissioner  Keechant Sewell, announced that Edward D. Mullins, the former President of the Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA), the union that represents NYPD Sergeants past and present,  has been charged with one count of wire fraud based on a scheme using the submission of fraudulent expense report to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from the SBA. 

Mullins surrendered to the FBI in Manhattan on the morning of Feb. 23 and was presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein.  The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl.

According to the Criminal Information filed in this case, for nearly two decades, from in or about 2002 until in or about October 2021, Edward D. Mullins served as President of the SBA, which is the union that represents all current and former NYPD Sergeants.  As President, Mullins was responsible for promoting the general welfare of the SBA’s membership.  Instead, Mullins orchestrated a scheme to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from the SBA and its members.

Between 2017 and October 2021, MULLINS defrauded the SBA by using his personal credit card to pay for meals at high-end restaurants and to purchase luxury personal items, among other things, and then submitting false and inflated expense reports to the SBA, seeking reimbursement for those bills as legitimate SBA expenditures when in fact they were not.  Altogether, MULLINS was reimbursed for over $1 million dollars in expenses from the SBA, the majority of which was fraudulently obtained.

Long Island Man Pleads Guilty to Sending Threats to LGBTQ+ People

On Feb. 23, Robert Fehring pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Joanna Seybert in federal court in Central Islip, to mailing more than 20 letters threatening to assault, shoot, and bomb LGBTQ+ affiliated individuals, organizations and businesses.  As a result, Fehring faces up to five years’ imprisonment when he is sentenced.

The guilty plea was announced by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Breon Peace, as well as the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office and the Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD) Commissioner, Rodney K. Harrison.

As set forth in the court filings and the Feb. 23 plea proceeding, from at least 2013 to 2021, Fehring sent letters threatening violence to individuals associated with the LGBTQ+ community.  In those letters, Fehring threatened to use firearms and explosives against the recipients. One such letter threatened that there would “be radio-contolled (sic) devices placed at numerous strategic places” at the 2021 New York City Pride March with “firepower” that would “make the 2016 Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting look like a cakewalk.”

Fehring also sent a threatening letter to the owner of a barbershop affiliated with the LGTBQ+ community in Brooklyn, New York, which stated, in part, “your shop is the perfect place for a bombing . . . or beating the scum that frequents your den of [expletive] into a bloody pool of steaming flesh.”  Fehring mailed dozens of additional threatening letters to individuals, businesses, and elected officials associated with the LGBTQ+ community.

On November 18, 2021, the FBI’s Civil Rights Squad and the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force executed a search warrant at Fehring’s home in Bayport and recovered copies of letters containing threats, supplies used to mail threatening letters, 20 LGBTQ+ related Pride flags that appeared identical to flags stolen from flagpoles in Sayville in July 2021, and reconnaissance-style photographs from a June 2021 Pride event in East Meadow.  

Law enforcement officers also recovered electronic devices owned by Fehring that contained internet searches for Fehring’s victims and related LGBTQ+ affiliated individual, events, and businesses. 

Police officers also recovered two loaded shotguns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, two stun guns, and a stamped envelope addressed to an LGBTQ+ affiliated attorney containing the remains of a dead bird from Fehring’s residence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact Us