Fake mine inspector gets real time

A KENTUCKY man who posed as a mining inspector and instructor last year, certifying a number of miners in the state, will pay for his indiscretions with prison time.

Donna Schmidt

The Associated Press and local news station WLEX said 21-year-old Paul Jason Arnett, charged earlier this year for falsely posing as a qualified underground coal mining instructor, completing false documentation for miner training and making false statements to US Mine Safety and Health Administration agents, was sentenced to three years in federal prison.

His sentence was handed down September 12 by US District Judge Amul Thapur in US District Court in Pikeville.

The Kentucky news station report noted Arnett’s fate was actually one year above the maximum recommended time outlined in US sentencing guidelines.

The fake instructor’s transgressions stem back to June 2011, when he certified on federal forms that individuals from Floyd, Johnson and Magoffin counties in Kentucky had completed new miner training with a certified instructor when in fact he met with several in his vehicle and filled out the required forms without conducting training.

Additionally, according to WLEX, Arnett also falsely claimed to MSHA investigators during the probe that he was the brother of Paul Arnett and offered to help agents locate him and bring him in for questioning.

He was initially indicted by a Pikeville federal grand jury in March for eight counts of making a false statement.

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