LAWFUEL – Legal Announcements – A Santa Ynez man surrendered to federal authorities this morning after being indicted on federal fraud charges related to a boiler room operation that offered bogus bartending and “mystery shopper” schools that promised jobs to people around the country who paid for courses and referrals to potential jobs.
Stevan P. Todorovic, 38, surrendered this morning to federal authorities in Los Angeles. He is expected to make his initial appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles.
Todorovic was named in a 22-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles on May 21. The indictment alleges 11 counts of wire fraud, four counts of mail fraud and seven counts of money laundering.
According to the indictment, Todorovic set up several companies – including American Bartending Institute and Consumer Response Group – to market and sell a bogus training program, “certifications” and job referrals. The indictment alleges that Todorovic placed advertisements in newspapers across the country that falsely stated that bartending and mystery shopping jobs were available. He then allegedly sold victims training materials and certifications, promising that the certifications would come with referrals to bars and retail establishments hiring bartenders or mystery shoppers. However, “Todorovic well knew that the ABI and CRG certifications were not recognized in the bartending or mystery shopping industry, would not assist victims in obtaining jobs and therefore were worthless,” the indictment alleges.
Law enforcement authorities estimate that Todorovic’s companies may have defrauded as many as 34,000 victims across the United States. If you believe you have been a victim of these alleged crimes or seek information about the rights of victims in this case, please call the United States Attorney’s Office Victim-Witness Unit at 888-228-0315 and leave your name, address, telephone number and a brief description of your connection to this case. You may also check the Victim-Witness Unit web site for further information at: http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/cac/HowCanWeHelp/vw/index.html.
If convicted of the 22 counts in the indictment, Todorovic faces a statutory maximum penalty of 440 years in federal prison.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The case against Todorovic was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The matter was referred by the Federal Trade Commission, which had filed a civil lawsuit against Todorovic.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Keri Curtis Axel
Major Frauds Section
Release No. 08-082