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Former Williamson mayor pleads guilty for role in Workers’ Comp scheme

By Rusty Marks, Staff writer
Darrin McCormick, in a photo taken from the city of Williamson's website while he was mayor.

Former Williamson mayor and Bank of Mingo branch manager Darrin McCormick pleaded guilty Tuesday to lying to federal officials about a workers' compensation scheme.

McCormick, 50, entered the plea before U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver in the Southern District Court in Charleston.

In an information filed by federal prosecutors, McCormick was charged with making false statements to officials investigating a Workers' Compensation scheme by coal contract companies aimed at getting out of paying Workers' Compensation premiums. An information is similar to an indictment, and usually indicates a suspect is cooperating with the investigation.

McCormick told Copenhaver on Tuesday he lied to agents for the FBI and IRS when asked in February 2103 if he knew anything about multiple cash withdrawals from the Williamson branch of the Bank of Mingo by Aracoma Contracting. McCormick was manager of the Williamson branch at the time.

Federal prosecutors believe agents for Aracoma Contracting were making multiple cash withdrawals of less than $10,000 each from the Williamson bank to avoid triggering rules requiring the bank to notify the IRS of the financial activity. McCormick told investigators on Feb. 19, 2013, that he didn't know anything about the withdrawals, but admitted to Copenhaver on Tuesday that he did know.

Officials for Aracoma and three other coal contract companies have already been sentenced in connection with the scheme, as well as Arville Sargent, a former BrickStreet Insurance auditor.

Federal prosecutors believe Aracoma and other contract companies contracted to hire workers for local coal mines, then paid them under the table to hide their payroll figures and get out of paying Workers' Compensation premiums. They believe the multiple cash withdrawals were made to pay off the workers and as bribes for Sargent.

McCormick faces up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines for his part in the scheme. He also agreed not to work in the banking industry in a separate agreement made with federal banking officials.

McCormick resigned as mayor of Williamson in April, and left the Bank of Mingo during the course of the investigation. He told Copenhaver on Tuesday that he is currently unemployed.

McCormick was free on bond Tuesday evening, after having terms of his bond modified to allow him to cross into neighboring Kentucky to look for work. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 28.

Reach Rusty Marks at rustymarks@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.


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