CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Three mine sourcing agents and the president of a mine equipment company are facing wire fraud charges in connection with an alleged scheme to embezzle money from Alpha Natural Resources.
According to four separate informations filed by U.S. District Attorney Booth Goodwin, Donald Steele, Joey Phalin, Nicholas Coleman and Edward Mullins are all facing charges.
All four of the men worked together at several mines owned and operated by Alpha Natural Resources.
According to the information, Edward Mullins was a sourcing agent at the Shonk Powellton #1 Mine in Boone County, W.Va. As part of the scheme, Mullins, as well as others, helped each other file false purchase orders, according to court records. The orders would then be processed and billed to Alpha. According to the information, Mullins would then be compensated by a vendor in exchange for processing the false document and the vendor being paid by Alpha.
Mullins is being charged with one count of wire fraud in connection with the scheme. According to the information, an electronic payment was made for $8,712 for a fake invoice.
Nicholas Coleman was a sourcing agent at the Marshfork Mine #1 in Raleigh County, W.Va. and is also being charged with one count of wire fraud.
According to the information, Coleman would process fake invoices sent to him by a tire vendor that worked with the Marshfork Mine. The invoices would then be processed and paid -- but the items would never be provided to the mine. According to the information, Coleman would be paid with cash, or other items of value, by the tire vendor in exchange for the invoice being paid by Alpha.
Joey Phalin is also facing one charge of wire fraud in connection with the scheme.
According to the information, Phalin was a sourcing agent for the Slip Ridge #2 mine in Raliegh County that is also owned and operated by Alpha.
Phalin is being charged in connection with processing payment for fake invoices provided by a tire vendor, according to the information, according to court records. Phalin would then receive cash or other things of value in exchange for making sure the tire vendor was paid by Alpha for the fake invoices, according to the information.
According to the information, a wire payment was processed by Phalin in the amount of $1,013 from Alpha to the tire vendor.
Donald Steele is also facing a wire fraud charge in connection with the embezzlement scheme.
According to the information, Steele was president of M&S Hydraulics, Inc. which provided mine supplies and equipment repair services to mines along Route 3 through Boone and Raleigh Counties that are owned and operated by Alpha.
From at least 2007 through at least June 2012, Steele, Coleman, Mullins and Phalin helped each other, according to the information, "defraud and to obtain money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises."
According to the information, to make sure the scheme was undetected, Steele would provide cash and other things of value to Coleman, Mullins and Phalin in exchange for processing fake invoices provided by M&S.