New york attorney arrested for charging hundreds of thousands of dollars for advertisements never placed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 29, 2013
Attorney Charged in New Jersey Allegedly Steered Payments to Company He Owned
NEWARK, N.J. – Federal agents arrested a New York attorney this morning to face a criminal complaint charging him with defrauding two international companies out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by fraudulently billing them for advertising services that were never provided, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Marijan Cvjeticanin, 49, of St. James, N.Y., is charged with one count of mail fraud. He was arrested at his home by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), and is scheduled to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in Newark federal court.
According to the complaint unsealed today:
From approximately September 1996 to September 2012, Cvjeticanin was employed by a New York law firm specializing in immigration law, first as a paralegal and then as an attorney. Among other clients, the firm represented two international companies – with offices in New Jersey – in connection with various immigration law matters. Cvjeticanin was the case manager handling day-to-day tasks such as filing applications for permanent residency for certain foreign workers of those companies employed in the United States on a temporary basis.
The application process required the companies to place job ads, in the geographic location where a relevant position was located, to demonstrate there were no minimally qualified U.S. citizens available to fill that position. To do that, Cvjeticanin caused his firm to retain a supposed advertising agency, Flowerson Holdings, Inc., a/k/a Flowerson Advertising, which allegedly handled all of the advertisement obligations of the companies in connection with permanent residency applications. Neither the firm nor the companies knew Cvjeticanin owned and controlled Flowerson.
From 2010 through September 2012, the companies paid Flowerson approximately $579,000 for advertisements, but Flowerson did not place the majority of those ads. Instead, Cvjeticanin stole the money and used it for his personal benefit.
If convicted, Cvjeticanin faces a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Fishman praised special agents of ICE HSI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew M. McLees in Newark, and DSS, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Robert Goodrich, with the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas P. Grippo of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crimes Unit in Newark.
The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.