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Financial Crimes

New York attorney arrested for charging hundreds of thousands of dollars for advertisements he never placed

NEWARK, N.J. – A New York attorney was arrested Wednesday and charged with defrauding two international companies out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by fraudulently billing them for advertising services that were never provided. The charge resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service (DSS).

Marijan Cvjeticanin, 49, of St. James, N.Y., is charged with one count of mail fraud. He allegedly steered payments he received to a company he owned. HSI and DSS special agents arrested him at his home.

According to court documents, from approximately September 1996 to September 2012, Cvjeticanin was employed by a New York law firm specializing in immigration law. 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 and 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., aka 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 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.