He got zero stars and nine months.
A Yonkers jewelry seller was busted sending Google bogus court orders in an effort to scrub bad reviews of his business from search results — and now he’s headed to prison for the forgery.
The Natural Sapphire Company owner Michael Arnstein, 41, was sentenced to nine months behind bars and fined $20,000 this month for forging a judge’s signature on more than 10 counterfeit orders sent to the search giant, according to the Manhattan US Attorney’s office.
“Michael Arnstein’s blatant criminal scheme to exploit the authority of the federal judiciary for his company’s benefit was outrageous,” US Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement.
“As Arnstein has learned, his attempts to remove negative reviews about his business from Google search results by forging a US District Court judge’s signature may have worked in the short term, but it also earned him nine months in a federal prison.”
Arnstein in 2012 actually obtained a legitimate court order requiring some websites to remove defamatory posts about his business, and he submitted that order to Google, asking it to hide those urls from its search results, according to a Washington Post report.
But he then followed up by replicating the order 11 times with additional urls — successfully convincing Google to deindex some of those pages as well.
Arnstein outlined his ruse in an email obtained by prosecutors.
“I spent 100K on lawyers to get a court order injunction to have things removed from Google and Youtube, only to photoshop the documents for future use when new things ‘popped up’” he wrote in the email, according to the criminal complaint.
“I could have saved 100K and 2 years of waiting/damage if I just used photoshop and a few hours of creative editing … Lawyers are often worse than the criminals.”
He pleaded guilty on Sept. 15 and was sentenced on Oct. 19. In addition to his time in the slammer, Arnstein was sentenced to three years of supervised release, the first five months of which must be in home detention.
When not selling sapphires, Arnstein is also a “fruitarian” and a competitive runner who has raced in marathons, ultra marathons and triathlons, according to his website The Fruitarian.
In a 2003 interview with CNN, he said he eats 25-30 pounds of raw fruit a day.