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Two men indicted in telemarketing fraud conspiracy

THE BALTIMORE SUN

A federal grand jury in Greenbelt indicted two men yesterdayon charges that they conspired to operate a telemarketing fraud scheme in which they sold garden fertilizer as septic tank cleaner.

The indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Lynne A. Battaglia for the Maryland District and Thomas F. Johnson, postal inspector in charge of the Washington Metro Division.

Gerard Sedletz, 57, of Bethesda and Steven Jacob, 55, of McLean, Va., were each indicted on one count of conspiracy, five counts of mail fraud and four counts of wire fraud, Battaglia and Johnson said.

The indictment charged that Sedletz and Jacob operated the scheme from 1988 until 1996, selling "Septic-Kleenz," a product they claimed would help keep septic systems clean but was actually repackaged fertilizer with lime sometimes added and sold at an immense markup.

The indictment alleges that the product was sold primarily through telemarketing from the defendants' offices in Beltsville.

Pub Date: 12/18/98

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