The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

May 2, 2013

Mercer man indicted for allegedly falsifying mining safety reports


From Staff Reports

— A Mercer County man who allegedly falsified mandatory mine safety reports while employed at several West Virginia mining operations was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury sitting for violating mine health and safety laws.

Craig Belcher, 36, of Bluefield, was charged with four counts of providing a false statement, representation and certification in a Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) document.

In January 2009, Belcher was hired to work as an underground mine foreman at Spartan Mining Co.’s Road Fork No. 51 mine in Wyoming County. In February that same year, he was hired to perform mine foreman duties at Frasure Creek’s Mine No. 15 in Fayette County. Belcher was also hired to perform similar foreman duties in May 2009 at Pay Car’s Mine No. 58 in McDowell County and, in July 2010 at Double Bonus’s Mine No. 65 in Wyoming County.

The indictment alleges that between Jan. 27, 2009, and July 13, 2010, Belcher signed pre-shift and on-shift reports, indicating that he had properly examined particular sections at each mining operation.

The indictment further alleges that Belcher was not certified as a foreman when the reports were completed. Belcher also allegedly falsified foreman’s certificate numbers on the pre-shift and on-shift reports, using foreman’s numbers that did not belong to him.

Belcher faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count if convicted.