This morning, federal agents arrested a New York attorney 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 Fishman says Marijan Cvjeticanin of St. James, N.Y. is also accused of steering the cash to a company he owns.

(Flickr User: kriskaer)

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 immigration law matters. Cvjeticanin was the case manager handling day-to-day tasks like 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 to demonstrate there were no minimally qualified U.S. citizens available to fill that position. To do that, Cvjeticanin had his firm  retain a supposed ad agency known as 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.

Roughly $579,000 was paid out for advertisements, but Flowerson didn’t 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.