Jessica Lilly Published

Fake Mine Foreman Sentenced


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.

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

Belcher’s sentence was handed down Monday by Senior United States District Court Judge David A. Faber in Bluefield.

According to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s office, Belcher was hired to work as an underground mine foreman in January of 2009 at Spartan Mining Company’s Road Fork No. 51 mine in Wyoming County.

In February 2009, Belcher 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.

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.