Nine people indicted in alleged Tennessee coal fraud

Nine people have been indicted by a federal grand jury over allegations that they sold interests in a largely fictional coal company, called New Century Coal, to investors.

The U.S. Attorney’s office for eastern Tennessee said that on June 10, a federal grand jury in Greeneville returned a 49-count indictment against nine people, including Brian C. Rose, a.k.a. John Hankins, 34, of Johnson City, Tenn. They are charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud and money laundering.

Five of these individuals appeared in court for initial appearance and arraignment during the period June 16-19 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis Inman and pleaded not guilty to the charges. Three of these individuals will appear in court on June 30 for initial appearance and arraignment before Magistrate Judge Inman.

Rose appeared in court on June 2 for a detention hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge C. Clifford Shirley. Rose was detained pending trial.

The investigation showed that Rose established an office for New Century Coal in Johnson City, Tenn., and staffed the office with others who targeted potential investor victims, using false and fraudulent representations to solicit sales of shares in New Century Coal and received funds exceeding $15m from more than 160 investors who reside in multiple locations in the United States, said the U.S. Attorney’s office.

If convicted, all face a maximum term of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.00, a term of supervised release of at least three years. All also face mandatory court assessments and restitution as ordered by the court.

This indictment is the result of investigation by the U.S. Secret Service, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division, and Federal Bureau of Investigation.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.