Bluefield man sentenced for falsifying mine reports - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Bluefield man sentenced for falsifying mine reports

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A Mercer County man who falsified mandatory mine safety reports while employed at several West Virginia mining operations was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said.

Craig Belcher, 37, of Bluefield, had pleaded guilty in July to providing a false statement, representation and certification in a Mine Safety and Health Administration document.

Belcher was hired in January 2009 to work as an underground mine foreman at Spartan Mining Company's Road Fork No. 51 mine located in Wyoming County. In February 2009 he also was hired to perform mine foreman duties at Frasure Creek's Mine No. 15 located in Fayette County. Belcher also performed 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.

Between January 27, 2009 and July 13, 2010, Belcher signed pre-shift and on-shift reports which indicated that he had properly examined particular sections at each mine. Belcher was not certified as a foreman when he completed the mine reports. Belcher also falsified information on pre-shift and on-shift reports by using foreman's numbers that did not belong to him.

The investigation was conducted by MSHA. Assistant United States Attorney Blaire Malkin handled the prosecution and Belcher was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Court Judge David A. Faber in Bluefield.