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Logan man involved in Arch Coal kickback scheme admits filing fraudulent tax returns

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A 52-year-old Logan County, West Virginia man involved in a kickback scheme at Arch Coal’s Mountain Laurel Mining Complex faces up to three years in prison after admitting to filing fraudulent tax returns.

Gary Roeher of Holden told U.S. District Judge Thomas E. Johnston he’d illegally claimed business-expense deductions on his 2010 and 2011 federal tax returns for kickbacks he’d paid to a Mountain Laurel supervisor.

Roeher and the official receiving the kickbacks stole money from Arch through a dummy invoice scheme, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said.

The scheme involved Roeher billing Arch for non-existent supplies that he’d purportedly provided to the company, and the Arch employee on the other end of the scheme would then falsely certify that the supplies had been received so that Arch’s accounting department would pay the false bills Roeher had submitted. After he got paid by Arch, Roeher would then pay the Arch official a kickback in exchange for his participation in the scheme. It was these kickback payments that Roeher falsely claimed as legitimate business expenses on his 2010 and 2011 tax returns, Goodwin said.

Between 2010 and 2011, Roeher paid the individual $35,170.60 in kickbacks. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Roeher will forfeit that amount to the Internal Revenue Service.

Arch’s Mount Laurel Mining Complex is located in Sharples, Logan County, West Virginia.

Roeher also said he deducted approximately $43,000 as a business expense for his company, CM Supply, though he actually used the money to install an in-ground swimming pool at his residence.

Roeher is scheduled for sentencing at 2 p.m. Oct. 15 in federal court in Charleston.

Goodwin said plea hearings for nine other individuals implicated in the kickback scheme have been scheduled over the next month:

*Alvis Porter, 9 a.m. July 10.

*Gary Griffith, 1:30 p.m. July 14

*Ronald Barnette, 3 p.m. July 14

*Scott Ellis, 10 a.m. July 16

*Scott Herndon, 10:30 a.m. July 16

*David Herndon, 10:30 a.m. July 17

*Chadwick Lusk, 10:30 a.m. July 21

*James Evans III, 10:30 a.m. Aug. 4

*David Runyon, 10 a.m. Aug. 7