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Two more plead guilty in mining kickback scheme

By Staff reports

Two more men pleaded guilty Monday for lying to federal agents about a coal mine kickback scheme in Logan County.

Gary K. Griffith, 62, of Oceana, and Ronald Barnette, 53, of Holden, both pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents about the widespread kickback scheme that resulted in charges against 10 men.

Griffith is the former maintenance manager at Mountain Laurel mine in Sharples. Barnette, who owns Mining Repair Specialists, admitted he lied to federal investigators about paying kickbacks to obtain work rebuilding mining equipment for Mountain Laurel.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston will sentence the men Oct. 20.

Two other men, including the former Logan County circuit clerk, have already pleaded guilty to the scheme.

Federal prosecutors have said companies were forced to pay kickbacks to obtain machine repair work and other contracts at the mining complex. The men are charged with receiving $1.5 million in kickbacks between 2007 and 2012.


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