The grand jury also alleged that Stover directed "a person known to the grand jury" -- but not named in the indictment -- to "dispose of thousands of pages of security-related documents."
At the time Stover did this, the indictment says, he knew federal officials were looking into advance notice of inspections at Upper Big Branch. Stover was attempting to "impede, obstruct, and influence" the government investigation, the indictment alleges.
The documents were apparently stored in the garage of a house known as the "barracks" near the main security gate at Upper Big Branch, the indictment said.
On about Jan. 11, this "known person" sorted through the documents, keeping some of them that Stover wanted preserved, the indictment said, but disposing of thousands of pages of security-related documents in a trash compactor.
"These documents were later recovered after the federal government inquired about their existence in the course of its investigation into allegations of advance notices of inspections having been given at the Upper Big Branch Mine," the indictment says.
Stover was charged with concealing documents in a federal investigation, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
Stover is scheduled to be arraigned on March 15 in federal court in Beckley. His lawyer, former U.S. Attorney William Wilmoth, declined comment Monday.
Massey general counsel Shane Harvey issued a statement saying the company takes the matter very seriously and is cooperating with the U.S. Attorney's office.
Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., noted in a statement that the indictment echoes complaints from miners and their families about advance notice of inspections at a House Labor Committee field hearing in Beckley last May.
"This despicable conduct to provide advance notice of inspections alleged in the indictment likely impaired MSHA's ability to detect violations that could have saved lives," Miller said. "It also underscores the urgent need for legislation to better deter unlawful advance notice of inspections, which is only a misdemeanor and never prosecuted."
Stover was charged with lying to investigators and destroying documents, both felonies, rather than the misdemeanor charge for advance notice of inspections.
The Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety and Health Act would have made this kind of illegal conduct a felony and punishable by five years in prison or a $250,000 fine.
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.