Two Potomac businessmen pleaded guilty yesterday to making false statements and interstate transportation of fraudulently obtained property in a scheme in which they illegally received federally insured mortgage loans from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Marvin D. Gitelson and Max Chaikin, who prosecutors identified as real estate speculators, also agreed to pay restitution of $100,000 and $325,000 respectively.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said the pleas brought to 40 the number of people convicted in what it called the nation's largest continuing investigation of fraud in the sale of rental properties financed by HUD-insured mortgages.
Gitelson, 54, is a real estate broker who had at least three companies in Bethesda. Chaikin, 52, worked out of one of Gitelson's offices.
The two were indicted in November on 40 charges of racketeering, as well as charges of wire fraud, making false statements and obstruction of justice. They pleaded not guilty to the charges at the time. The government charged that the two used a variety of false documents to get loans and federal mortgage insurance.
Last fall's indictment also alleged that Chaikin and Gitelson sold $1.3 million worth of drugs to various parties who helped them with their loan scheme. Sources said at the time that neither was charged with selling drugs because of the statute of limitations, but that their involvement with narcotics resulted in the charge of racketeering.
After the indictment, prosecutors seized $2.5 million in assets from Chaikin's and Gitelson's bank accounts, as well as eight real estate properties, promissory notes and cars. Chaikin and Gitelson could be sentenced to a maximum of 15 years in prison and $260,000 in fines.