Two Washington men pleaded guilty here yesterday to being the "insiders" who conceived and helped carry out a plot last January to kidnap Square Deal Trucking Co. executive Alan L. Bortnick.
James Henry (Jake) Elliott a former Square Deal employee, pleaded guilty to being the "idea" man who thought up the kidnaping and took care of such details as providing tape to bind Bortnick.
Amos W. Corley, who was at the time employed by the firm as a trash truck driver and who provided information to the kidnapers about Bortnick's daily routine, pleaded guilty to a charge of withholding information about the kidnaping from investigators.
Both men will be sentenced later by U.S. District Judge George L. Hart.
Elliott, 33, of 407 Rhode Island Ave. NE, could receive a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Corley, 51, of 2321 Ainger Pl. SE, could receive a maximum 3-year prison term.
The pleas are the fifth and sixth to come out of a year-long federal investigation of the Bortnick kidnaping, which occurred last Jan. 12. Bortnick was released unharmed after his father paid $250,000 in ransom.
Investigators said they believed the pleas close the major portion of the investigation, but that other lesser figures may be charged in the future.
In addition, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carl S. Rauh and E. Lawrence Barcella Jr. said the government is still trying to account for more than $100,000 in unrecovered or unspent ransom money.
Elliott reportedly conceived the idea of kidnaping Bortnick while talking with a former codefendant in a bank robbery case, Thomas Edward Bethea. Bethea, who was one of the two persons who actually abducted Bortnick, has pleaded guilty to kidnaping and is serving a life prison term.
They then discussed the idea with Corley, who had been a codefedant with Elliott and Bethea in the same bank robbery case, and he provided them with information about Bortnick's daily routine. Corley had been rehired to work at Square Deal after being placed on probation after his bank robbery conviction.
Ned McCutchen Jr., also a convicted bank robber, has pleaded guilty to assisting Bethea in carrying out the kidnaping and is serving a life sentence. Bortnick was held under guard by McCutchen and Bethea for four days in a Northwest Washington apartment before being released.
Investigators said Bethea, who picked up the ransom money, kept $105,000 of it. McCutchen was given $95,000 and Elliott received $50,000. Bethea, who was a fugitive for several months in the Bahamas, reportedly spent most of his share, while large portions of McCutchen's and Elliott's are not accounted for.
Elliott drove Bethea and McCutchen to a stolen car that they used in the kidnaping, provided guns and the tape used to find Bortnick, investigators added.
According to the indictment charging Elliott and Corley, there were several unsuccessful attempts made to kidnap Bortnick before the successful one on Jan. 12.
The conviction of Elliott yesterday is his second in a month. He also faces on unrelated murder charge in D.C. Superior Court.
He was convicted of armed bank robbery in Raleigh, N.C., last month and faces a maximum Prison sentence there of 25 years. The unrelated murder charge here carries a maximum sentence of life, and involves the alleged "contract" killing of a suspected drug dealer here last June 14.
The other two persons who have pleaded guilty so far are Ned McCutchen's brother, Glen, who is serving a prison term of up to 10 years, after allegedly helping "launder" the ransom money, and Rosslyn C. Holmes, who is serving a term of three years for failing to tell investigators that her apartment had been used to hold Bortnick during the kidnaping.
Bortnick was abducted from the Square Deal Trucking Co.'s headquarters at 1325 Kenilworth Ave. NE while he was participating in a card game with employees.