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For Immediate Release
September 29, 2004
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

OWNER OF BETTER HEARING CENTERS CONVICTED OF UNFAIR AND DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICES AND PROVIDING HEARING AID SERVICES WITHOUT A LICENSE

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that John M. Kochan, Sr., 53, of 18616 Chandlee Mill Road, Sandy Spring, Maryland, was convicted on September 28, 2004, in Montgomery County Circuit Court for the misdemeanor crimes of engaging in unfair and deceptive trade practices and providing hearing aid services without a license. The Honorable William J. Rowan, III sentenced Kochan on each count to consecutive 90-day sentences in the Montgomery County Detention Center, suspended, and placed Kochan on two years of supervised probation.

According to the Statement of Facts, Kochan owns and operates a business called Better Hearing Centers, a hearing aid dispenser with locations in Montgomery County and elsewhere in Maryland. On April 8, 2003, while licensed as a hearing aid dispenser, the Defendant sold a hearing aid to Elizabeth McKinley of Silver Spring, Maryland. Kochan recommended that Mrs. McKinley buy a new hearing aid, custom-made for her. He delivered the hearing aid to her on May 13, 2003. The hearing aid whistled as soon as it was placed into her ear. She tried the next day to abide the noise, but finally called Kochan about her continued concern. After two scheduled meetings with Kochan failed to happen, Mrs. McKinley called Beltone Electronics, the hearing aid manufacturer, for assistance. Beltone had no record of making a hearing aid for her, and disclosed that the hearing aid that she had received was made for another Maryland resident. The investigation that followed by the Maryland Board of Examiners for Audiologists, Hearing Aid Dispensers and Speech-Language Pathologists determined that the hearing aid John Kochan represented was made for Mrs. McKinley was actually made for another client of Mr. Kochan.

On November 20, 2003, the Board of Examiners for Audiologists, Hearing Aid Dispensers, and Speech-Language Pathologists suspended John Kochan’s Hearing Aid Dispenser license, effective immediately. He was informed of his license suspension immediately after the Board action. Despite his suspension, he provided hearing aid services to an elderly Burtonsville resident on November 25, 2003. Her daughter witnessed the transaction and cooperated with the State’s investigation.

Currently, Kochan’s license to provide hearing aid services remains suspended. He is allowed to operate Better Hearing Centers, so long as a properly licensed employee provides all hearing aid services that require a license.

This case was prosecuted by the Criminal Investigations Division of the Attorney General’s Office, with assistance by the Board of Examiners for Audiologists, Hearing Aid Dispensers and Speech-Language Pathologists, Beltone Electronics, and the Maryland State Police.

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