Calvert County Man Convicted of Unlawful Well Drilling
Ordered to pay homeowner full restitution
Baltimore, MD (February 24, 2012) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that John Branham, 78, of Port Republic, was convicted of engaging in well drilling without a license. Charles County District Court Judge W. Louis Hennessy sentenced Branham to three months incarceration, all of which was suspended, plus a $200 suspended fine and ordered the defendant to pay restitution of $650 within 60 days to the homeowner on whose property the illegal activity took place. Branham was placed on three years probation.
The conviction resulted from Branham's attempt to replace a pump from a malfunctioning well at a La Plata residence, work that must be done by a licensed well driller or a master plumber. Branham admitted that he lost his well driller's license in 1998.
The illegal activity was discovered when homeowner Jean Collins became concerned with the quality of Branham's work on her well. She paid him $650 to replace the pump, but it would not fit when he attempted the installation. Ms. Collins contacted the Charles County Health Department and was informed that Branham did not possess the proper license.
The conviction follows an investigation conducted by the Environmental Crimes Unit of the Office of the Attorney General with the assistance of the Charles County Health Department and the Maryland Department of the Environment's Water Management Administration.