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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of West Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 7, 2014

Coal Miner Charged With Falsifying Safety Records


1125 Chapline Street, Federal Building, Suite 3000 ● Wheeling, WV 26003
(304) 234-0100 ● Contact: Chris Zumpetta-Parr, Public Affairs Specialist


WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA - A coal miner who claimed to be foreman has been charged with falsifying safety records at an Ohio County, West Virginia coal mine.

United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, announced that SEAN A. CHASE, 31 years old, of Spencer, West Virginia, was indicted by a federal grand jury on 29 counts of making false representations and certifications in mine safety records. Specifically, it is alleged that CHASE, while working at the Tunnel Ridge Mine in Ohio County, claimed to be a mine foreman and to be qualified to perform mine safety exams when in fact he holds no such certification. CHASE is also charged with making false statements to a federal agent, and claiming that he took the mine foreman examination and was issued a foreman card and foreman number.

The matter came to the attention of law enforcement when the certification numbers all foremen at Tunnel Ridge were submitted and reviewed for the purpose of continuing education requirements. It is alleged that the certification number submitted for CHASE had never actually been issued by the West Virginia Office of Mine, Health, Safety and Training, and thus an investigation was opened.

CHASE faces up to five years in prison on each of the thirty charges, and a fine of up to $10,000. The matter was investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration, and the West Virginia Office of Mine, Health, Safety and Training. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David J. Perri.

Updated January 7, 2015