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MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that the Wisconsin Department of Justice obtained a criminal conviction against Wade R. Schenk, doing business as W S Plumbing, of Peshtigo for inspecting wells without a license and theft by fraud for misleading the property owners on the inspection of their wells. On January 6, 2012, Mr. Schenk pled no contest to an amended information with misdemeanor counts of well inspection without a license and theft by fraud.
The criminal complaint alleged that Schenk was retained by local realtors and inspected wells at properties pending closings, on at least eleven occasions. Wisconsin law requires that any well inspection done as part of a real property transaction be done by a licensed well driller or pump installer. Mr. Schenk was neither.
In addition, on at least six of the eleven well inspection reports he wrote in a licensed well driller's name and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) license number without the driller's consent. The DNR learned of this activity when one of the licensed well drillers and affected real estate agents complained to the DNR. The real estate agent noticed that the claimed well inspector was different from who was being paid for the inspection. The agent's follow-up found the fraudulent use of the well driller's name. A reinspection of the well found a series of major defects with the well that should have been found and disclosed by the inspection. The DNR's investigation found eleven well inspections by Schenk and his unauthorized use of licensed individuals' names and license numbers on six of the inspection reports. Mr. Schenk advised the DNR that he knew he needed a license and acknowledged that his performance of the inspections was illegal. Schenk said he performed the inspections and falsified the reports because he needed the money.
The Honorable David G. Miron, Marinette County Circuit Court Judge, accepted Schenk's plea, withheld sentencing and placed Schenk on probation for two years with conditions that he pay $1,000 in restitution to one of the victims and an additional $3,892 in fines, costs and associated surcharges. The defendant also was sentenced to 20 days in the Marinette County jail.
The case was investigated by the DNR. Assistant Attorney General Steven Tinker prosecuted the case.
Copies of the complaint and amended information are available at the following links: