On Friday, October 19, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew L. Carter of the Southern District of New York sentenced the CEO Of Natural Sapphire Company, Michael Arnstein, to nine months in prison for conspiring to forge a federal judge’s signature on fake court orders compelling Google to remove negative reviews from Google search results related to Natural Sapphire Company. Arnstein previously plead guilty on September 15, 2017.
Between February 2014 and February 2017, Arnstein engaged in a scheme to provide Google with counterfeit federal court orders to get websites with unfavorable reviews and postings about Natural Sapphire Company de-indexed from Google search results. Arnstein forged the signature of a U.S. District Court Judge on more than ten counterfeit orders. In a July 2014 email, Arnstein wrote that “Google isn’t checking this stuff; that’s the bottom line b/c I spent $30,000 [expletive redacted] thousand dollars and nearly 2 [expletive redacted] years to do what legit could have been done for about 6 hours of searching and photoshop by a guy for $200., all in ONE DAY.”
Arnstein will spend nine months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, the first five months of which must be served in home detention. Arnstein was also sentenced to pay a $20,000 fine and to perform 200 hours of community service during his supervised release period.
CEO Gets Nine Months In Prison For Forging Court Documents Ordering Google To Delist Negative Reviews, Techdirt (October 24, 2018)
Manhattan Businessman Sentenced To Nine Months In Prison For Forging Federal Court Orders To Remove Negative Reviews From Internet Search Results, United States Department of Justice (October 19, 2018)
United States of America v. Michael Arnstein Complaint, United States District Court, Southern District of New York, Docket No. 17 MAG 1870 (March 15, 2017)