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Justice News

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

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Logan Man Admits Involvement In Arch Coal Kickback Scheme

Alvis Porter admits to paying kickbacks; pleads guilty to tax crime

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A 61-year-old Logan County man faces up to five years in prison after pleading guilty today to failing to collect, account for, and pay over federal employment taxes, United States Attorney Booth Goodwin announced. Alvis Porter, of Holden, West Virginia, also admitted to paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks to the general manager of Arch Coal’s Mountain Laurel mining complex, located in Logan County.

Porter owned and operated a company called Quality Oil, Inc., which did construction work at the Mountain Laurel complex for several years. In 2009, Porter admitted, he began paying kickbacks to Mountain Laurel’s general manager, who is identified in other court documents as David Runyon, so that Runyon would continue hiring Porter’s company to do construction work at the mine. Initially, Porter paid Runyon $5,000 a month in kickbacks, a sum that later grew to $10,000 a month. Porter estimates that over four years, he paid Runyon approximately $400,000 in kickbacks.

Porter also admitted that in 2013, he paid a Quality Oil employee cash wages, under the table, so that Porter could avoid withholding federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes for that employee. Porter paid the employee more than $63,000 in cash for half of 2013. Failing to collect and pay over federal employment taxes is a crime.

Porter has agreed to forfeit $350,000 to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in connection with the kickback scheme and pay the IRS $29,851.48 in restitution for his failure to withhold employment taxes.

Porter entered today’s guilty plea before United States District Judge Thomas E. Johnston, who is scheduled to sentence Porter on October 16, 2014, in Charleston.
Today’s plea stems from an investigation being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, IRS Criminal Investigation, United States Postal Inspection Service, and West Virginia State Police.  Assistant United States Attorney Meredith George Thomas is in charge of the prosecution.

Eight more guilty plea hearings are scheduled for other defendants associated with the Arch kickback scheme:

United States v. Gary Griffith, scheduled for 1:30 p.m., July 14, 2014;
United States v. Ronald Barnette, scheduled for 3:00 p.m., July 14, 2014;
United States v. Scott Ellis, scheduled for 10:00 a.m., July 16, 2014;
United States v. Scott Herndon, scheduled for 10:30 a.m., July 16, 2014;
United States v. David Herndon, scheduled for 10:30 a.m., July 17, 2014;
United States v. Chadwick Lusk, scheduled for 10:30 a.m., July 21, 2014;
United States v. James Evans III, scheduled for 10:30 a.m., August 4, 2014; and
United States v. David Runyon, scheduled for 10:00 a.m., August 7, 2014.

Updated January 7, 2015