Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

May 31, 2013

July trial date set for man charged with falsifying MSHA reports

BLUEFIELD — Trial dates have been scheduled for a Mercer County man who was indicted in late April on federal charges that he made false statements on federal mining documents.

Craig Belcher, 36, of Bluefield is scheduled to stand trial on July 30, at U.S. District Court in Bluefield in answer to the charges contained in a four-count indictment alleging that he made false statements, representations, and certification in MSHA (Mine Safety & Health Administration) documents at four different coal mines in southern West Virginia.

The charges contained in the indictment allege that Belcher falsified pre-shift documents at four different coal mines by claiming he was properly certified to examine the sections in the mines even though he was not certified to make the inspections.

“On each exam sheet that defendant Craig Belcher signed at each of these mines, he falsely listed a foreman’s certificate number,” according to the background information on the indictments. “He used three different foremen’s numbers. These foremen’s numbers did not belong to the defendant ... but were in fact, held by other individuals,” the government alleged.

Belcher appeared for his arraignment in Bluefield on Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Clarke VanDervort who scheduled Belcher’s trial to be held before Senior Status Judge David A, Faber of the Southern District of West Virginia.

Assistant U.S. Attorney C. Haley Bunn represented the government at Belcher’s arraignment and Assistant U.S. Public Defender David R. Bungard served as Belcher’s court-appointed attorney.

VanDervort released the defendant on a $10,000 non-surety bond. The court set additional dates for standard discovery requests and pretrial motions (June 24); scheduled a pretrial motions hearing (July 1); proposed voir dire questions and jury instructions (July 19); and a list of prospective witnesses (July 26).

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