MetroNews staff photo
Bank of Mingo

WILLIAMSON, W.Va. — A scheme which bilked the state and federal government and Brickstreet Insurance out of millions of dollars will send at least three people to prison and more could be coming.

Jerome Russell, 50, of Williamson, W.Va. and Frelin Workman, 58, of Belfry, Ky. will soon be sentenced for their role in a monetary structuring scheme uncovered by federal investigators. Russel and Workman were the principles of Aracoma Contracting. A third individual, Arville Sargent, 52, of Chapmanville, W.Va. will also face prison time for his role. Sargent is a former field auditor for Brickstreet.

According to U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin Aracoma officials arranged for numerous transactions at the Bank of Mingo Williamson Branch in which they withdrew cash in amounts just under the limit which required federal reporting. The cash became the payroll for Aracoma employees and helped the company avoid Millions of dollars in taxes and withholdings.

“It should have triggered reporting requirements for the bank,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia Booth Goodwin. “That did not occur.”

So far, nobody connected to the bank has been named in the investigation and Goodwin isn’t saying much about whether the probe is looking into any bank employees who may have been complicit in the scheme.

“They were able to funnel millions of dollars in cash out of the bank and use that cash to pay under the table cash payments to employees to avoid taxes and Social Security,” Goodwin said. “As well as bribe an official with Brickstreet Mutual Insurance Company to keep their workers comp premiums low.”

A federal information named Sargent as the Brickstreet official who accepted the bribe.  He faces 25 years in prison and a half million dollar fine.

The scheme would entail individuals showing up at a teller window and being presented with a cashier’s check. The check was endorsed and the individual handed precounted cash. Federal investigators said many times the checks exceeded Aracoma’s 10,000 dollar line of credit, but no currency transaction reports were filed by the bank as required by law.

“Our investigation is ongoing down there in Mingo County and I think facts will continue to emerge about this particular incident,” said Goodwin.

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  • Same in ky

    I had dealings with a IRS auditor In ky that hounded people to bankruptcy while his brother worked for one of the biggest crooks around. Like he didn't know.

  • Dont Doubtme

    Harry Keith White is not the president of The Bank of Mingo. (but he used to be)

  • kk

    Brickstreet moved to bigger building , who do you think is paying all the employees and for the new building? Try getting in there to see someone about your business. Fort Knox would be easier accessed. All that changed was the name, with the same employees, they may have hired some more after the move to new building.Before it was Worker's Compensation and the building was smaller. Even if you bought thru and agent you were still audited by Brickstreet Auditors. Maybe some of you business owners had a different Auditor than Arville Sargent. A fair shake is all any of us wanted.

  • Kay Runyon

    Same people just name change. I had dealt with them for years and name was all that changed. Arville Sargent was my auditor and he put my son out of business, he had to borrow money to pay a debt he didn't owe to Brickstreet. He hounded me and my son. He kept saying there was a way around the Audits and hounding, he left the door open for us to do the same thing and its still causing me problems. At least I have my integrity. and my son has his too. Brickstreet should be held accountable for the money my son had to borrow to pay them, all b/c of a crooked auditor.

  • Bodi

    Brickstreet was created by Joe Manchin. hmmm...

  • jus a. wonderin

    Wasn't Brickstreet essentially created by the WV Legislature......the political to speak?

  • woody

    This goes on everywhere, not just here..... The state of Maryland has a higher welfare rate and everyone there works (under the table ) This is why ligit workers can not find the work for there bussiness.... there like yea, I,m a contractor......well prove it.

  • FungoJoe

    How many of those workers getting paid under the table are also drawing disability checks and welfare benefits from the government???

  • Shadow

    If the Feds put everyone who is working under the table and not paying SS and Income Tax, 20% of WV will be in Fed Prison. This part of the USA learned from the Whisky Rebellion.


    thank manchin for that it is a shame what manchin done too the working people of wv DONT GET HURT ON THE JOB IN WV YOU WILL BE SCR##D

  • Magic Mike

    My wife has had first hand experience with Brick Street. They kept sending her to doctors until one of them said pre existing condition. The other 5 doctors said work related.


    Workers comp was set up for the injured worker now it is set up so the business dosent have to take care of the injured worker thanks to JOE MANCHIN and BRICKSTREET the only one getting any money is brickstreet and burton DONT GET HURT ON THE JOB IN WV !!!!!!!


    Well why dont you give your employees a RAISE if you saved that much tightwad unless your too greedy


    brickstreet is a crook they try every way in the world to NOT pay the injured worker anything and they get by with it because joe manchin took every right, away from the injured worker and gave his business friends everything they wanted. Dont get hurt on the job in wv you will be screwed by brickstreet I promise . Manchin also gave his friend greg burton millions and millions to start brickstreet sounds almost crooked dosent it I wonder what if anything TWO FACED JOE got out of that deal!!!!!!!! LOL

  • steve

    The Dems again--now who's administration did Brickstreet begin doing business (2006) Again the Federal information names a Brickstreet official.....(not that Republicans are much better but WV has fared last in almost every category under the argument...........

  • Footda Bill

    Noted. Harry Keith White isn't Pres. of Bank of Mingo but is on board and when Thompson of Wayne speaker of the house transferred to another job I recall a lot of members screaming No to helping HKW to that title due to the goings on with investigations in Mingo. We'll see!

  • Bigfish

    You need to read this report again. I don't think you understood. I have been with brick street from the beginning and have saved tens of thousands of dollars.

  • Charlie

    A fellow student who was from Matewan told me forty years ago, "If you are from Mingo County and not a crook, odds are you are related to one".

  • Janet K.

    HKW isn't the president. He's on the Board but he's not the president.

  • JC

    Precisely, BC. I am very happy with Brickstreet handling workman/s comp for my business.

  • Footda Bill

    The president of Bank of Mingo is Harry Keith White. Hmm.

  • ConservativeRealist

    Second article in a week about this scheme and still no one mentioning Harry Keith White, House Finance Chair and Chairman of the Bank of Mingo...hmmmm...interesting...

  • BC

    Brickstreet didn't rip anybody off; they are a victim. The accused employee caused Brickstreet to lose lots and lots of premium dollars. Brickstreet is the best in W.Va. for workers' comp, and Rick is correct--they've been around only since 2006.

  • Rick

    Brickstreet began doing business in West Virginia on January 1, 2006.

  • Dave R.

    not surprised, brick street has been ripping people off for decades