News and Press Releases

Five Individuals Charged with Immigration Fraud

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 5, 2014

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Alysa D. Erichs, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Wendy Bashnan, Special Agent in Charge, Miami Field Office, U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce the arrests of Goran Bjelovic, 44, of Aventura, Srdjan Jovcic, 50, of Wallington, New Jersey, and Hollywood, Florida, Branko Likic, 35, of Fort Lauderdale, Heather Bennett, 30, of Fort Lauderdale, and Ljiljana Aleksic, 54, of Orlando. All five defendants have been charged with various violations of fraud and misuse of visa, permits and other documents, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1546(a), marriage fraud, in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1325(c), and/or conspiracy to commit such, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371.

Bjelovic, Likic and Bennett were all arrested this morning and made their initial appearances at 11:00 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick Hunt in Fort Lauderdale. Jovcic, who was arrested in Wallington, New Jersey, and Aleksic, who was arrested in Orlando, will make their initial appearances in the respective districts.

According to the indictment that was unsealed this morning, Jovcic used and possessed a United States passport that had been procured through marriage fraud and the concealment of prior arrest and conviction history. Specifically, he is charged with using such passport to obtain a Florida driver license in 2009 and to enter the United States at the Miami International Airport on two separate occasions in 2011.

Bjelovic, Jovcic and Aleksic are charged with conspiracy to commit marriage fraud and fraud and misuse of visas, permits and other documents in connection with a sham marriage between Bjelovic and Aleksic. According to the indictment, Bjelovic and Aleksic were married in Orlando, Florida on November 16, 2010, shortly after Aleksic took the civics test to become a U.S. citizen. Aleksic then filed a Petition for Alien Relative on behalf of Bjelovic. Jovcic filed, on behalf of Bjelovic, an Affidavit of Support. Bjelovic is also charged with using and possessing a Form I-512, Authorization for Parole of an Alien, that had been procured through marriage fraud and the concealment of prior arrest and conviction history. Specifically, he is charged with using such Authorization to enter the United States at the Miami International Airport in 2011 and to obtain a Florida driver license in 2012.

Jovcic, Likic and Bennett are charged with a conspiracy to commit marriage fraud and fraud and misuse of visas, permits and other documents in connection with a fake sham marriage between Likic and Bennett. According to the indictment, in September 2010, Bennett traveled from South Carolina to Florida and she and Likic signed a marriage license in Broward County. Subsequently, in January 2011, May 2011 and March 2011, Bennett filed a Petition for Alien Relation on behalf of Likic.

If convicted of the conspiracies set forth in the indictment, the defendants face a statutory maximum term of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. If convicted of the possession and use of a passport or other document charge set forth in the indictment, defendants Bjelovic and Jovcic face a statutory maximum term of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI, DSS, IRS-CI and FBI. Mr. Ferrer would also like to thank the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Commerce, and the U.S Attorneys’ Offices for the District of New Jersey and the Middle District of Florida for their assistance. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Stone.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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