A 52-year-old Logan County man faces up to three years in prison after admitting on July 9 to filing false tax returns in a coal-related kickback case, said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia Booth Goodwin.
Gary Roeher, of Holden, W.Va, entered a guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston. Roeher admitted that on his 2010 and 2011 federal tax returns, he illegally claimed business-expense deductions for kickbacks that he paid to an Arch Coal (NYSE: ACI) official at the company’s Mountain Laurel Mining Complex in Logan County.
Roeher and the official receiving the kickbacks stole money from Arch through a dummy invoice scheme, Goodwin noted. In the scheme, Roeher would submit bills to Arch for non-existent supplies that Roeher had purportedly provided to the company. The Arch official on the other end of the scheme would then falsely certify that the supplies had been received, so that Arch’s accounting department would pay the false bills that Roeher had submitted. After he got paid by Arch, Roeher would then pay the Arch official a kickback in exchange for his participation in the scheme.
It was these kickback payments that Roeher falsely claimed as legitimate business expenses on his 2010 and 2011 tax returns. Roeher is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 15.
Nine more guilty plea hearings are scheduled in July and August for other defendants associated with the Arch kickback scheme.