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W.Va. mine foreman accused of safety violations

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- A federal grand jury has indicted a southern West Virginia mine foreman on safety violation charges.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said Wednesday that Craig Belcher, 36, of Bluefield, was charged with four counts of providing a false statement, representation and certification in a Mine Safety and Health Administration document.

The alleged incidents occurred between January 2009 and July 2010 at Spartan Mining Co.'s Road Fork No. 51 mine and Double Bonus's No. 65 mine, both in Wyoming County; Frasure Creek's No. 15 mine in Fayette County, and Pay Car's No. 58 mine in McDowell County.

The indictment said Belcher signed both preshift and on-shift reports that he completed mine inspections. However, Belcher wasn't certified as a foreman when the reports were completed, and he allegedly used foreman's certificate numbers that weren't his.

If convicted, Belcher faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count. It wasn't immediately known whether Belcher had an attorney.