New York attorney convicted of 9 counts of mail fraud
TRENTON, N.J. — A New York attorney was convicted Monday in federal court on numerous counts of mail fraud for his role in a scheme to defraud two international companies by billing them for services that were never provided.
This conviction resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with the assistance of the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service (DSS).
Marijan Cvjeticanin, 50, of St. James, New York, was convicted of nine counts of mail fraud following a one-week trial.
According to court documents, from Sept. 1996 to Sept. 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 cities where the relevant position was located, to demonstrate that there were no 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.
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 the advertisements as required and instead pocketed the money paid by ADP and Broadridge.
In September 2012, Wildes & Weinberg learned through a routine audit of employee email accounts that Cvjeticanin owned and controlled Flowerson, which he had never disclosed, 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 popular magazines and newspapers.
The investigation also revealed that from time to time, the government would conduct audits of labor certifications and would request additional information from the filer, including copies of the print advertisements that had been placed. 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.
Cvjeticanin faces a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the counts on which he was convicted. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 25, 2015.