CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Federal investigators have charged 10 people with participating in kickback scheme involving an Arch Coal mining complex in Logan County and vendors that did business with the mine.
The charges brought Friday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office accuse David E. Runyon, the former general manager at Arch’s Mountain Laurel operation, and three other Arch employees with participating in the scheme with at least a half dozen different vendors.
U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said Runyon, 45, of Delbarton and other Arch employees received kickbacks approaching $2 million between 2007 and 2012.
“This kind of pay-to-play scheme hurts honest coal industry vendors who refuse to pay bribes as a way to get customers,” Goodwin said. “The corrupt way that these defendants did business should be a thing of the past.”
The 10 defendants are named in federal informations. That means they are cooperating with investigators and are expected to plead guilty to the charges.
Those charged along with Runyon include:
Gary K. Griffith, 62, of Oceana; Stephen B. Herndon, 37, of Holden; Scott E. Ellis, 44 of Holden; Alvis R. Porter, 61, of Holden; David N. Herndon, 63 of Chauncey; Ronald Barnette, 53, of Holden; Gary L. Roeher, 52, of Holden; Chadwick J. Lusk, 32 of Davin; and James H. Evans II, 39, of Verdunville.
Runyon, Gary K. Griffith, Stephen B. Herndon, Chadwick J. Lusk all worked at Arch.
The allegations against the individuals show a similar pattern—a vendor would pay large amounts of cash to the Arch employees to obtain business with the mine. For example, the information says Scott E. Ellis, who was a business partner in a company called Tri-State, paid nearly $425,000 over a five year period to receive work rebuilding mine equipment.
The charges stem from an investigation by the FBI, IRS, U.S. Postal Service and the West Virginia State Police.