US Attorney Booth Goodwin confirmed late Monday that Craig Belcher, 36, of Bluefield, pleaded guilty to providing false statements, representation and certification on required US Mine Safety and Health Administration documents.
Belcher’s misdeeds occurred in 2009 and 2010, beginning in January 2009 when he was hired to work as an underground foreman at Spartan Mining’s Road Fork No. 51 operation in Wyoming County.
He was retained as a mine foreman at Frasure Creek’s Mine No. 15 in Fayette County the following month, and was in a similar foreman capacity at Pay Car Mine No. 58 in May of that year, then in June 2010 at Double Bonus’ Mine No. 65 in Wyoming County.
The ex-miner signed pre-shift and on-shift reports at each mine between January 27 2009 and July 13 2010, and in all cases indicated he had properly examined particular sections at each mine.
However, Belcher was not certified as a foreman when he completed the reports.
He also falsified information on pre-shift and on-shift reports by using foreman’s numbers that did not belong to him, Goodwin said.
Previous indictment paperwork indicated he used at least three different foremen’s numbers.
Sentencing has been scheduled for December 2 in front of senior US district justice David Faber.
Belcher faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The investigation was conducted by MSHA. Assistant US attorney Blaire Malkin is overseeing the prosecution.