News and Press Releases

DOJ Seal

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF WEST VIRGINIA

William J. Ihlenfeld, II
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY


1125 Chapline Street, Federal Building, Suite 3000 ● Wheeling, WV 26003
(304) 234-0100 ● Contact: Fawn E. Thomas, Public Affairs Specialist

March 9, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Former Mine Employees Enter Guilty Pleas
to Making False Statements on MSHA Documents

ELKINS, WEST VIRGINIA — Two former mine employees entered guilty pleas on March 8, 2011, in United States District Court in Elkins before Magistrate Judge John S. Kaull.

United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, announced that:

LUKE W. PUGH, of Jane Lew, West Virginia, a former employee of Carter Roag Coal Company, Inc., at the Pleasant Hill Mine in Randolph County, West Virginia, entered a plea of guilty to one count of an Indictment charging him with making false statements, representations, and certifications in MSHA documents. As part of the plea, PUGH stipulated that on 387 occasions from June 18, 2007, to April 28, 2009, he knowingly and falsely stated and certified in a report that he was certified by the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Education to conduct Preshift and/or Onshift safety examinations, when in fact he knew that he was not and has never been so certified. PUGH, who is currently free on bond pending sentencing, faces a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a fine of $10,000.

CHAD J. FERRELL, age 39, of Nettie, West Virginia, a former employee of Brooks Run Mining Company at the Poplar Ridge Number 1 Deep Mine in Webster County, West Virginia, entered a plea of guilty to one count of an Indictment charging him with making false statements, representations, and certifications in MSHA documents. As part of the plea, FERRELL stipulated that on 489 occasions from September 15, 2008, to June 5, 2009, he knowingly and falsely stated and certified in a report filed and required to be maintained that he was certified by the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Education to conduct Preshift and/or Onshift safety examinations, when in fact he knew that he was not and has never been so certified. FERRELL, who is currently free on bond pending sentencing, faces a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a fine of $10,000.

“Our coal miners deserve to have a safe working environment, and anyone who elects to play games with mine examination reports will be prosecuted,” said USA Ihlenfeld. “Workplace safety is of critical importance to the Department of Justice and we will continue to aggressively pursue those who place West Virginia’s workers into harm’s way.”

Mine Safety and Health Administration Assistant Secretary Joseph A. Main stated, “We will use all available means to hold accountable those who endanger miner safety and health by falsifying required mine examination reports.”

The cases were prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephen D. Warner. The cases were investigated by the United States Department of Labor, Mine Safety & Health Administration.

Project Future

Call Tara Tighe at (304) 234-7703 or Email Tara.Tighe@usdoj.gov to schedule your event.

WV Public Corruption
Hotline
Public Corruption

Call 1-855-WVA-FEDS or Email wvafeds@usdoj.gov if you have information about public corruption in your community.

USAO Homepage
USAO Briefing Room
What Makes Schools Safer? Using science to discover what works. Federal funding available. Visit NIJ.gov, keywords: 'comprehensive school safety intiative'
Community Outreach

Giving Back to the Community through a variety of venues & initatives.

Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee

Training and seminars for Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Agencies.

Project Safe Childhood

Help us combat the proliferation of sexual exploitation crimes against children.

Stay Connected: Visit us on Twitter
Justice 101