Two Carroll County plumbing companies and their owner have been ordered to pay more than $1 million after the state attorney general’s office found work done by employees who were not licensed plumbers.

All State Plumbing Inc. and All State Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Inc. and their owner, Wayne Garrity of Hampstead, also charged consumers fees for permits that were never obtained and failed to schedule required inspections, according to a final order issued by the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division.

Garrity and his companies must return all payments from consumers for unlicensed plumbing services and un-issued permits, with an initial restitution payment of $250,000, the attorney general’s office said Wednesday.  The order also requires payment of a civil penalty of $707,900 and costs of $65,129.54.

"This plumber played by his own set of rules and took advantage of unsuspecting consumers," Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler said in a statement. "The severe penalty reflects the known extent of the violations and the large number of consumers who were harmed by this illicit business."

Garrity, his companies and their workers had a history of violating state and local plumbing codes, the AG’s office said.

The consumer protection division found at least 7,079 violations of the state’s Consumer Protection Act, including more than 6,000 involving one employee who worked for more than five years without a plumber’s license. The companies committed another 692 violations by installing gas or electric water heaters in consumers’ homes, failing to schedule inspections and charging $150 each for permits that were never obtained. The violations took place at thousands of jobs throughout the state, in Baltimore and in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery and Washington counties, the division found.

The  order requires Garrity and his companies to use only licensed plumbers for plumbing services, to comply with all state, municipal and local codes and to document the compliance to the division and consumers.

Consumers are urged to check the license status and potential complaints against plumbers by contacting the Consumer Protection Division and the Maryland Board of Plumbing, Gansler said.

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com