Federal Grand Jury Indicts Mercer County Man On Mine Safety Violations
CHARLESTON, W. Va. – A Mercer County man who allegedly falsified mandatory mine safety reports while employed at several West Virginia mining operations was indicted on April 30 by a federal grand jury sitting in Charleston for violating mine health and safety laws, announced U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin. Craig Belcher, 36, of Bluefield, Mercer County, W.Va., was charged with four counts of providing a false statement, representation and certification in a Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) document.
In January 2009, Belcher was hired to work as an underground mine foreman at Spartan Mining Company’s Road Fork No. 51 mine located in Wyoming County, W.Va. Additionally, in February 2009 Belcher was hired to perform mine foreman duties at Frasure Creek’s Mine No. 15 located in Fayette County, W.Va. Belcher was also hired to perform similar foreman duties in May 2009 at Pay Car’s Mine No. 58 in McDowell County, W.Va., and, in July 2010 at Double Bonus’s Mine No. 65 in Wyoming County, W.Va.
The indictment alleges that between January 27, 2009 and July 13, 2010, Belcher signed pre-shift and on-shift reports, indicating that he had properly examined particular sections at each mining operation. The indictment further alleges that Belcher was not certified as a foreman when the reports were completed. Belcher also allegedly falsified foreman’s certificate numbers on the pre-shift and on-shift reports, using foreman’s numbers that did not belong to him.
Belcher faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count if convicted.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Blaire Malkin is in charge of the prosecution.
Note: The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty