Westminster Man Charged with Impersonating Professional Engineer


BALTIMORE (12/01/09) - The State Board for Professional Engineers, which is part of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation's Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, today announced that a Howard County grand jury returned a three-count indictment charging a Westminster man with using fake credentials to get hired as a professional engineer in Maryland.

Lawrence D. Novakowski, 51, was charged with one count of practicing without a license and two counts of counterfeiting a public seal. He was released on his own recognizance and ordered not to work at any engineering firm.

"The practice of professional engineering has rigorous licensing requirements in Maryland because public safety is at issue when an individual lacks the necessary education and training to design safe structures or systems," DLLR Secretary Alexander M. Sanchez said. "The Board for Professional Engineers has pursued this case aggressively, and we're glad that with the help of the Howard County State's Attorney's Office we were able to secure this result on behalf of the citizens of Maryland."

An investigation by the Board for Professional Engineers found that Novakowski supplied employers with a phony Johns Hopkins University transcript that he ordered over the Internet, and licensing documents that were bogus but contained an authentic Maryland state seal and an authentic professional engineer's license number. That number belonged to another person who was last licensed in 1998.

Despite being an electrician with no education or training in engineering, Novakowski was hired by at least three engineering firms in Maryland. He was used as a troubleshooter in the field and was called upon as an expert witness in court cases stemming from electrical fires, the Board found in its investigation.

The Board for Professional Engineers is one of 22 boards and commissions that make up DLLR's Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.

DLLR reminds employers and consumers that they can look up whether someone is licensed by going to the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing web page and clicking on the link to the appropriate board or commission.