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Press Release

New York Attorney Who Defrauded Two International Companies Out Of Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars Sentenced To More Than Four Years In Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

TRENTON, N.J. – A New York attorney was sentenced today to 57 months in prison for defrauding two multi-national companies out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by fraudulently billing them for services that were never provided, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.      

After a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp in June 2015, a jury deliberated for three hours before convicting Marijan Cvjeticanin, 52, of St. James, New York, of all nine counts of the indictment charging him with mail fraud. Judge Shipp imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.

According to the documents filed in this case and the evidence presented at trial:    

From September 1996 to September 2012, Cvjeticanin worked for Wildes & Weinberg P.C., a New York law firm specializing in immigration law, first as a paralegal and then as an attorney. Among other clients, the firm represented Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP) and Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc. (Broadridge) in connection with various immigration law matters. Cvjeticanin was the case manager handling day-to-day tasks, such as preparing Department of Labor certifications and applications for permanent residency for certain foreign workers of those companies employed in the United States on a temporary basis.

The application process required ADP and Broadridge to place job advertisements in the geographic location where the relevant position was located and demonstrate that there were no minimally qualified United States citizens available to fill that position. Wildes & Weinberg arranged for an independent advertising agency to contract with ADP and Broadridge to place the advertisements.

At some point prior to 2010, Cvjeticanin caused ADP and Broadridge to replace the independent advertising agency with Flowerson Holdings Inc., a/k/a Flowerson Advertising (Flowerson). Unbeknownst to Wildes & Weinberg, ADP, or Broadridge, Cvjeticanin was the owner and principal of Flowerson. From that point until September 2012, Flowerson purportedly handled all of the certification advertisement obligations for ADP and Broadridge. In reality, Cvjeticanin did not place the majority of the advertisements as required and instead pocketed the monies paid to him by ADP and Broadridge.

In September 2012, Wildes & Weinberg learned through a routine audit of employee email accounts that Cvjeticanin owned and controlled Flowerson and fired him. The subsequent investigation revealed that between 2010 and September 2012, ADP and Broadridge collectively paid Flowerson approximately $579,000 for advertisements relating to permanent residency applications. Virtually all of the invoices that Flowerson submitted to ADP and Broadridge included charges for advertisements purportedly placed in Computer World magazine as well as advertisements placed in newspapers such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Star-Ledger, The Seattle Times, and others. However, Cvjeticanin never placed the majority of advertisements. Instead, he kept the money for his personal benefit.

The investigation also revealed that from time to time the government would conduct audits of labor certifications submitted on behalf of ADP and Broadridge and request additional information from the filer, including copies of the print advertisements that had been placed. Cvjeticanin was responsible for gathering the print advertisements responsive to the government audit requests. Because Cvjeticanin had not placed most of the print advertisements, he was unable to provide the copies. Cvjeticanin took out advertisements after he received notice of the audit. Cvjeticanin then fraudulently superimposed those advertisements on a newspaper from another date and made a photocopy, which he submitted to the government. The photocopied submissions purported to show that the relevant advertisements had been placed on the appropriate dates.

In addition, during today’s sentencing proceeding, prosecutors asserted that Cvjeticanin had also been practicing law in the immigration courts after his conviction despite having been suspended from such practice by the U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review, Board of Immigration Appeals. Cvjeticanin was suspended from practice before the Board of Immigration Appeals, the immigration courts, and the Department of Homeland Security as of Nov. 2, 2015, because of his felony convictions in this matter. Cvjeticanin was also ordered to notify his clients of his suspension. Nevertheless, Cvjeticanin continued to represent clients before the immigration courts in New York City into 2016. Cvjeticanin is also currently the subject of disbarment proceedings in New York State.

In addition to prison time, Judge Shipp sentenced Cvjeticanin to three years of supervised release and ordered him to forfeit $668,977.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Terence S. Opiola, Newark Field Office, and the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service, New York Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge David Schnorbus, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Francisco J. Navarro and Dennis C. Carletta of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.

Defense counsel: Lorraine Gauli-Rufo Esq., Verona, New Jersey; Thomas Ambrosio, Esq., Lyndhurst, New Jersey

Updated February 18, 2016

Press Release Number: 16-046