Last updated: July 10. 2014 3:27AM - 3825 Views
Karissa Blackburn kblackburn@civitasmedia.com

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The first of 10 plea hearings from the kickback schemes and corruption scandal at the Mountain Laurel Mining Complex took place Wednesday in Federal Court in Charleston. GaryRoeher, 52, of Holden, was charged with filing a false tax return. He is facing up to 5 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted.

According to the charge, Roeher deducted approximately $43,000 as a business expense for his company, CM Supply, when Roeher actually used the funds to install an in-ground swimming pool at his residence.

In today’s hearing, Roeher entered a guilty plea before United States District Judge Thomas E. Johnston, admitting that on his 2010 and 2011 federal tax returns, he illegally claimed business-expense deductions for kickbacks that he paid to an Arch Coal official at the company’s Mountain Laurel Mining Complex.

He was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond, and his sentencing has been set for Oct. 15, 2014 at 2 p.m.

Federal prosecutors alleged the 10 men involved, including four former employees at Arch Coal’s Mountain Laurel mining complex, took close to $2 million from vendors in a five-year kickback scheme starting in 2007.

The remaining nine men involved in the case have set court hearings for guilty plea cases as well, including three that were scheduled today.

Chadwick J. Lusk faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. His hearing is set for July 21 at 10:30 a.m.

Former Mountain Laurel general manager David Runyon is charged with one count of extortion by wrongful use of fear of economic loss and one count of tax evasion. His hearing is set for August 7 at 10 a.m. Runyon faces up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.

Owner and Operator of Baisden Recycling James H. Evans II is charged with conspiracy to commit honest services fraud. His hearing will be August 4 at 10:30 a.m. Evans faces up to five years in prison a fine of up to $250,000.

The previously set hearings still stand as follows:

  • Alvis Porter, scheduled for 9 a.m. on July 10, 2014
  • Gary Griffith, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on July 14, 2014
  • Ronald Barnette, scheduled for 3 p.m. on July 14, 2014
  • Scott Ellis, scheduled for 10 a.m. on July 16, 2014
  • Scott Herndon, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on July 16, 2014
  • David Herndon, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on July 17, 2014

Today’s charge stems from an investigation being conducted by the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, United States Postal Inspection Service and the West Virginia State Police. Assistant United States Attorney Meredith George Thomas is in charge of the prosecution.

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