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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 25, 2014

Coal Miner Sentenced For Falsifying 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 West Virginia coal miner who falsified safety records at an Ohio County mine has been sentenced in Federal court.

United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, announced that Sean A. CHASE, 32 years old, of Spencer, West Virginia, was sentenced to two years of supervised release after being convicted earlier this year of “Making False Representations and Certifications” on mine safety records and one count of “False Statements to a Federal Agent.” According to investigators, CHASE claimed to be a mine foreman and to be qualified to perform mine safety exams while working at the Tunnel Ridge Mine in Ohio County when in fact he held no such certification. CHASE also claimed that he took the mine foreman examination and was issued a foreman card and foreman number.

U.S. Attorney Ihlenfeld praised the efforts of the investigators and encouraged anyone with knowledge of this type of offense to bring it to the attention of authorities. “We must do everything we can to protect our coal miners, including prosecuting individuals who break the law for their own financial gain,” said Ihlenfeld.

Joseph A. Main, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health, stated: “Accurate mine operator examinations of workplaces by certified individuals are a cornerstone of the Mine Act, and are required to protect miners from injury, illness, and death. MSHA appreciates the efforts of the U.S. Attorney to keep miners safe by holding examiners accountable when they falsify records and attempt to mislead Agency investigators.”

This case 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 and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David J. Perri.

Updated January 7, 2015