Last updated: July 10. 2014 1:40PM - 7713 Views
Karissa Blackburn kblackburn@civitasmedia.com

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Former Logan County Circuit Clerk Alvis Porter faces up to five years in prison after pleading guilty today to failing to collect, account for, and pay over federal employment taxes. Porter entered today’s guilty plea before United States District Judge Thomas E. Johnston, who is scheduled to sentence Porter on October 16 in Charleston.

Porter, 61 of Holden, also admitted to paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks to the general manager of Arch Coal’s Mountain Laurel mining complex.

Porter owned and operated a company called Quality Oil, Inc., which did construction work at the Mountain Laurel complex for several years. Porter began paying kickbacks, in 2009, to Mountain Laurel’s general manager David Runyon so that Runyon would continue hiring Porter’s company to do construction work at the mine. Initially, Porter paid Runyon $5,000 a month in kickbacks, a sum that later grew to $10,000 a month. Porter estimates that over four years, he paid Runyon approximately $400,000 in kickbacks.

Porter also admitted that in 2013, he paid a Quality Oil employee cash wages, under the table, so that Porter could avoid withholding federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes for that employee. Porter paid the employee more than $63,000 in cash for half of 2013. Failing to collect and pay over federal employment taxes is a crime.

Porter has agreed to forfeit $350,000 to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in connection with the kickback scheme and pay the IRS $29,851.48 in restitution for his failure to withhold employment taxes.

Today’s plea stems from an investigation being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, IRS Criminal Investigation, United States Postal Inspection Service, and West Virginia State Police. Assistant United States Attorney Meredith George Thomas is in charge of the prosecution.

Eight more guilty plea hearings are scheduled for other defendants associated with the Arch kickback scheme:

• Gary Griffith, scheduled for 1:30 p.m., July 14, 2014

• Ronald Barnette, scheduled for 3:00 p.m., July 14, 2014

• Scott Ellis, scheduled for 10:00 a.m., July 16, 2014

• Scott Herndon, scheduled for 10:30 a.m., July 16, 2014;

• David Herndon, scheduled for 10:30 a.m., July 17, 2014

• Chadwick Lusk, scheduled for 10:30 a.m., July 21, 2014

• James Evans III, scheduled for 10:30 a.m., August 4, 2014

• David Runyon, scheduled for 10:00 a.m., August 7, 2014

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