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Press Release

Ex-Signal Peak Mine safety official admits conspiring to make false statement about mine injury

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana

BILLINGS — The former mine safety director at the Signal Peak Energy LLC coal mine near Roundup today admitted to charges that he conspired to not report as required an incident in which a mine employee injured his fingers, resulting in partial amputation, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

Curtis Floyd, 47, of Billings, pleaded guilty to an information charging him with conspiracy to submit false statements in mine records. Floyd faces a maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Cavan presided. A sentencing date will be set before U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Floyd was released pending further proceedings.

The government alleged in court documents that in 2018, Floyd was the Director of Mine Safety at the Signal Peak Energy coal mine and was responsible for overseeing safety related accidents and injuries, ensuring that all safety-related incidents at the mine were properly reported in accordance with federal law. In early 2018, John Doe 1, an employee under Floyd’s area of responsibility, had his fingers crushed while loading mining materials. The injury eventually required partial amputation. As Floyd was taking John Doe 1 to the hospital, John Doe 1 received a phone call from Dale Musgrave, the former vice president of underground operations. Musgrave directed John Doe 1 to falsely claim that the injury was unrelated to his work at the mine. Musgrave also said he would make it worth John Doe’s while. Floyd told John Doe 1 he would support whatever decision was made. John Doe 1 eventually agreed to not report the incident. Both Floyd and John Doe 1 subsequently admitted to investigators that this occurred. Floyd and Musgrave were required to complete a U.S. Department of Labor Mine Safety and Health Administration Mine Accident, Injury and Illness report. They never completed or submitted the form for this incident. They also failed to report John Doe 1 as an “MSHA reportable injury or illness” on another MSHA quarterly mine employment and coal production report.

This prosecution was part of a broad corruption investigation into Signal Peak Energy’s management and operations that resulted in not only misdemeanor convictions of the company for willful violation of health and safety standards, but also in individual convictions and charges for some former mine officials and associates for embezzlement, tax evasion, bank fraud, money laundering, drugs and firearms violations. Musgrave was sentenced to probation and fined $20,000 for his conviction in the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Colin M. Rubich, Zeno B. Baucus and Timothy Tatarka are prosecuting the case, which was investigated by IRS, FBI and Environmental Protection Agency.

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Contact

Clair Johnson Howard

Public Affairs Officer

406-247-4623

Updated January 5, 2023

Topics
Environment
Component
Release Number: 23-07