Former Massey exec Hughart gets 42 months in jail - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Former Massey exec Hughart gets 42 months in jail

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David Hughart, a former executive with Massey Energy, was sentenced to 3½ years in jail for his part in alerting coal miners to surprise inspections by MSHA from 2000 to 2010. David Hughart, a former executive with Massey Energy, was sentenced to 3½ years in jail for his part in alerting coal miners to surprise inspections by MSHA from 2000 to 2010.
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UPDATE:

Former Massey Energy Executive, David Hughart, was in federal court in Beckley on Tuesday for sentencing on conspiracy charges.  Judge Irene Berger gave Hughart 3½ years in jail and 3 years supervised release for his part in alerting miners to surprise inspections.

A release from United States Attorney Booth Goodwin states:

United States Attorney Booth Goodwin today announced that a longtime Massey Energy Company executive was sentenced to 42 months in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release for two federal crimes in connection with an ongoing investigation of practices at Massey. David Hughart, 54, of Crab Orchard, West Virginia, is the former president of Massey's Green Valley Resource Group and the highest-ranking official to be convicted in the ongoing federal investigation.  Hughart's sentence is one year above the top of federal advisory guidelines range.  Hughart previously pleaded guilty in February to two federal charges: conspiracy to impede the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and conspiracy to violate mine health and safety laws. 

"Mine safety laws exist to protect the health and safety of coal miners. When those laws are broken, miners' lives are put in danger. That's absolutely intolerable," said U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin. "This prosecution reiterates the message that mine safety laws are never, ever optional." 
Hughart admitted that he and others at Massey conspired to violate health and safety laws and to conceal those violations by warning mining operations when MSHA inspectors were arriving to conduct mine inspections. 
Hughart is the highest-ranking mine official ever convicted of conspiracy to impede MSHA or conspiracy to violate mine health and safety standards. 
Coal mines in the United States are subject to an array of mandatory federal mine health and safety standards designed to prevent dangers such as explosions, roof collapses, and fires. MSHA conducts frequent, unannounced mine inspections to monitor compliance with those requirements. When MSHA inspectors find violations of health and safety requirements, mine owners are subject to monetary penalties and, in some cases, production shutdowns until violations are corrected.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, and the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation arm. Alpha Natural Resources, Inc., which acquired Massey's operations in a June 2011 merger, is continuing to cooperate with the investigation.
The sentence was handed down by United States District Judge Irene C. Berger in federal district court in Beckley. 
Counsel to the United States Attorney Steven Ruby handled the prosecution. 


 

 


The highest ranking executive of the former Massey Energy Company was back in court on Tuesday for two different reasons.

David Hughart appeared before Judge Vandervort in federal court in Beckley at 1 p.m. for a probation revocation hearing.  Hughart was arrested at the end of August for having Oxycodone and an anti-anxiety drug.  Police said that he did not have a prescription for either of the pills.

At 2:30 p.m. Hughart went before Judge Irene Berger in Beckley Federal Court.  He pleaded guilty to two federal conspiracy charges back in February. The charges were for alerting miners at the White Buck Coal company to surprise federal inspections from 2000 to 2010. 

The information about Hughart's activities came to light following the explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in 2010 that killed 29 coal miners.  Hughart never worked at the Upper Big Branch mine. During the plea hearing in February, Hughart told the Judge under oath that the CEO of  Massey also knew about illegal activity by the company before the UBB explosion.  The CEO of Massey at the time of the UBB explosion was Don Blankenship.

Hughart is the highest ranking person at Massey to be prosecuted so far.  He is reportedly cooperating with law enforcement in the investigation into other illegal activity by Massey Energy.