Miner accused of falsifying qualifications as foreman

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A coal miner who claimed to be a foreman qualified to perform mine safety inspections at a West Virginia mine has been indicted on charges of falsifying his certifications.

Sean Chase, 31, of Spencer, W.Va., faces 29 counts related to the fraud.

A federal grand jury in Wheeling said Mr. Chase, while working at Tunnel Ridge Mine in Ohio County, W.Va., claimed to be qualified to perform mine safety examinations but holds no such certification. The grand jury said he also lied to a federal agent in claiming that he took the mine foreman exam and was issued a foreman card and number.

The U.S. attorney's office said the case came to light when all the certification numbers of foremen at the mine were reviewed for the purpose of continuing education requirements. Federal prosecutors said the number submitted for Mr. Chase had never been issued by the West Virginia Office of Mine, Safety and Training.

Torsten Ove: tove@post-gazette.com and 412-263-1510.

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