Last updated: July 15. 2014 1:01PM - 366 Views

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An Oceana man has pleaded guilty to lying about receiving kickbacks as an employee of Arch Coal.

Gary Griffith, 62, pleaded guilty on Monday to making a materially false statement in a federal matter, according to U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.

Also entering a guilty plea was 53-year-old Ronald Barnette of Holden. Goodwin said Barnette admitted to lying about paying kickbacks to the general manager of Arch Coal’s Mountain Laurel mining company in Logan County.

Both Griffith and Barnette face up to five years in prison.

According to a release issued by Goodwin, Griffith was a former maintenance manager at Mountain Laurel and admitted he had, since 2002, received cash kickbacks of at least $250,000 on behalf of himself and mine general manager David Runyon from an individual associated with the North American Rebuild Company Inc. (NARCO).

Goodwin said that Griffith admitted that a person, on behalf of NARCO, paid kickbacks to Griffith and Runyon for each shuttle car ordered at the mines.

When Griffith was asked by federal agents about receiving kickbacks for himself or on Runyon’s behalf, Goodwin reported, he denied it.

Griffith has agreed to pay $250,000 in restitution to Arch Coal, Inc., in connection with the kickback scheme.

Barnette and Griffith entered their pleas before U.S. District Judege Thomas E. Johnston. They are scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 20 in Charleston.

Goodwin said the guilty pleas are the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspections Service and the West Virginia State Police.

Assistant U.S. Attorney George Thomas is in charge of the investigation.

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