Debbie RolenStaff Writer
March 27, 2013
The president of a local mine equipment company is facing wire fraud charges along with three mine sourcing agents in connection with an alleged scheme to embezzle money from Alpha Natural Resources.
Donald Steele is president of M & S Hydraulics located near Switzer in Logan County. According to the information filed by U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, Steele provided mine supplies and equipment repair services to mines along Route 3 through Boone and Raleigh Counties that are owned and operated by Alpha.
The information alleges between the approximate of 2007 through June 2012, Steele and the three sourcing agents Nicholas Coleman, Edward Mullins and Joey Phalin helped each other, “defraud and to obtain money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises.”
As part of the scheme, the sourcing agents, as well as others, helped each other file false purchase orders, according to court records. The orders would then be processed and billed to Alpha, who would unwittingly pay the invoices.
Steele is accused in the information of providing cash and other items of value to Coleman, Mullins and Phalin in exchange for processing fake M & S invoices. To keep the scheme undetected, M & S is accused of providing cash and other items of value to individuals involved in the management and supervision of the mines involved.