CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Mingo County man who lead an almost $2 million illegal kickback scheme at Arch Coal’s Mountain Laurel Mining Complex in Logan County will be sentenced in November for extortion and tax evasion.
David Runyon, 45, of Delbarton, was in U.S. District Court in Charleston on Thursday morning to plead guilty to working with other Arch Coal employees to take cash kickbacks from Mountain Laurel vendors in exchange for continuing to hire those vendors.
During the scheme, Runyon was the general manager for the Mountain Laurel Mining Complex.
“They had to pay him thousands upon thousands of dollars in kickbacks to keep that business,” said Booth Goodwin, U.S. Attorney for West Virginia’s Southern District.
The vendors provided services that included rebuilds, miner and bolter repairs, construction work and contract labor. Between 2006 and 2013, cash kickbacks to Arch Coal employees totaled more than $1.8 million.
“This kind of pay-to-play scheme hurts honest vendors in the coal industry — business people who refuse to pay bribes as a way to get customers,” Goodwin said. “The corrupt way that this defendant did business should be a thing of the past. It’s bad for the economy and, ultimately, bad for consumers.”
Runyon was the last of ten defendants charged in the scheme to enter a guilty plea. He faces up to 25 years in prison when he’s sentenced on Nov. 19.
In addition to Runyon, the others charged included 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 and Chadwick J. Lusk all worked at Arch.
Goodwin said Arch Coal officials have assisted federal investigators from the start. “They did cooperate extensively with our investigation. They were a very substantial victim in this as well,” Goodwin said on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
The FBI conducted the investigation along with the IRS Criminal Investigation Unit, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and State Police.