State investigators discovered that Harrah was using a foreman's license number that was assigned to another person. Harrah used the license number when he signed in at a required continuing education session held by Massey at its Marfork Coal operations in June 2009. State investigators picked up on the problem when they went through the list of attendees to give them credit for the training, records show.
Harrah was using a certification number that had been assigned to someone else on Aug. 28, 2007, the day before Harrah failed the foreman's test. By the time he was caught, Harrah had been using the fake license for nearly two years, and had moved on to another Massey operation, the Slip Ridge Cedar Grove Mine, in August 2009, state records show.
Court records filed with Harrah's formal plea agreement provided a few new details, especially regarding his initial statement to investigators that suggested that officials from Massey's Performance Coal Co. subsidiary had helped him obtain a forged foreman's certification.
A joint "stipulation of facts" states that, six days after making those initial allegations, Harrah admitted in an Oct. 28, 2010, interview that he had been dishonest with the FBI and MSHA in the first interview.
"When he failed the examination, the Performance Coal officer did not give him a number to call, but instead discussed with him the possibility of retaking the examination," the stipulation says. "Harrah did not retake the examination.
"Instead, a couple weeks after learning that he failed the examination, he reviewed the examination book, and saw the foreman's numbers for those who had recently passed the examination," it says. "He changed a couple of digits on one of those numbers and a couple of months later he began using that number to sign pre-shift and on-shift examination books at the Upper Big Branch Mine."