Westminster man pleads guilty to counterfeiting

A 51-year-old Westminster man who faked his engineering credentials to work for a Columbia firm pleaded guilty Monday in Howard County Circuit Court to one count of counterfeiting a public seal.

Lawrence D. Novakowski of the 3000 block of Nicodemus Road will be sentenced July 1 by Judge Timothy J. McCrone; he could receive up to two years in prison.

According to Senior Assistant State's Attorney Kim Oldham, a complaint by an engineering firm in Sparks that Novakowski's credentials were phony helped launch an investigation by two state agencies that concluded he used a state seal to fraudulently obtain a license that helped him get a job in Columbia.

When his employer confronted Novakowski, he said he had lost his license because of a child support issue that was about to be resolved. He later provided a forged letter from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation saying that his suspension had been lifted. According to Oldham, the letter was signed by "a person who does not exist."

The investigation by the DLLR and the State Board of Professional Engineers uncovered that Novakowski was using a license number that had expired in 2001 and that Novakowski had a "fictitious" college diploma from the Johns Hopkins University and additional fake engineering licenses from New York and Pennsylvania. He later admitted purchasing the diploma and grade transcripts online for $500.


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