16 Charged with Concealing Bosnian Serb Military Service When Entering U.S.

VIA Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Website

WASHINGTON—
Sixteen individuals in six states have been charged with criminal
violations in connection with their efforts to obtain refugee status in
the United States by concealing their prior service in the Bosnian Serb
military, Julie L. Myers, Assistant Secretary for U.S. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty
and announced today.

The defendants allegedly committed immigration fraud and/or made
false statements by concealing their prior service in these Bosnian
Serb military units when filing immigration applications with the U.S.
government. The fraudulent applications enabled the defendants to gain
refugee status, which allowed them to enter and reside in the United
States. One of the defendants became a U.S. citizen.

In the past week, special ICE agents arrested 13 of the defendants
in Orlando and St. Petersburg, FL, Raleigh, High Point NC, Milwaukee,
Detroit, Cleveland and Denver. The remaining criminal defendants are at
large.

According to indictments and criminal complaints filed in the Middle
District of Florida, the Eastern District of Wisconsin, the Middle
District of North Carolina, the District of Colorado, the Eastern
District of Michigan, and Northern District of Ohio, the defendants had
served in the Bosnian Serb military. One of the defendants, Nedjo
Ikonic, 40, is described in a federal affidavit in Wisconsin as having
been a commander of a police unit that cooperated with other Bosnian
Serb entities in the July 1995 massacre of Muslims in Srebrenica.

“Since its founding, the United States has attracted refugees
escaping from persecution and atrocities in their countries of origin,”
said ICE Assistant Secretary Myers. “ICE will not allow the United
States to be a safe haven for those who failed to disclose their
service in military forces that were known to commit atrocities.  We
will continue to work closely with our international partners to
relentlessly pursue such criminals.” 

All but one of the defendants face criminal charges that include
immigration fraud and/or making false statements. The maximum sentence
for making false statements is five years in prison, while the maximum
sentence for immigration fraud is 10 years imprisonment. One defendant
has been charged with unlawful procurement of citizenship, which
carries a maximum potential sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

“These cases demonstrate our resolve to identify and prosecute those
who enter this country under false pretenses, especially those who hide
their military past,” said Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty. 

Special ICE agents investigated these cases with assistance from the
Office of Special Investigations of the Justice Department’s Criminal
Division. They are being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for
the Middle District of Florida; Eastern District of Wisconsin; Middle
District of North Carolina; District of Colorado; Eastern District of
Michigan; and Northern District of Ohio. The Office of Special
Investigations is also participating in the prosecution of the U.S.
citizen defendant in Tampa.

The indictments and criminal complaints filed in these cases contain
mere allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until
proven guilty.

The defendants are as follows:

Middle District of Florida

Sekula Bilic, indicted on one count of immigration fraud and one count of making false statements.

Zdravko Kordic, indicted on one count of immigration fraud.

Branko Popic, indicted on one count of immigration fraud and one count of making false statements.

Ostoja Saric, indicted on one count of immigration fraud and one count of making false statements.

Strahinja Krsmanovic, indicted on one count of immigration fraud.

Boro Stojanovic, indicted on one count of immigration fraud.

Jadranko Gostic, indicted on one count of unlawful procurement of citizenship and one count of making false statements.

Zoran Radic, indicted on one count of immigration fraud and making false statements. Radic remains at large.

Dusan Bosnjak, indicted on one count of immigration fraud and making false statements. Bosnjak remains at large.

Bogdan Panic, indicted on one count of naturalization fraud and making false statements. Panic remains at large.

Eastern District of Wisconsin

Nedjo Ikonic, charged with one count of immigration fraud.

Middle District of North Carolina

Milivoje Jankovic, indicted on two counts of immigration fraud and two counts of making false statements.

Veselin Vidacak, indicted on two counts of immigration fraud and two counts of making false statements.

District of Colorado

Milisav Vukovic, charged with one count of false statements.

Eastern District of Michigan

Nedjo Lojpur, indicted on two counts of immigration fraud.

Northern District of Ohio

Ratko Maslenjak, charged with one count of immigration fraud.

— ICE —


U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was established in March 2003
as the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland
Security. ICE is comprised of four integrated divisions that form a
21st century law enforcement agency with broad responsibilities for a
number of key homeland security priorities.

 

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