By Rachel Dove
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A 61-year-old Logan County man faces up to five years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to failing to collect, account for, and pay over federal employment taxes, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin has announced.
Alvis Porter, of Holden, who served for several years as the Logan County clerk in his home, also admitted to paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks to the general manager of Arch Coal’s Mountain Laurel mining complex, located in Logan County.
Porter owned and operated a company called Quality Oil Inc., which did construction work at the Mountain Laurel complex for several years. In 2009, Porter admitted, he began paying kickbacks to Mountain Laurel’s general manager, who is identified in other court documents as 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 in connection with the kickback scheme and pay the IRS $29,851.48 in restitution for his failure to withhold employment taxes.
Porter entered today’s guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Thomas E. Johnston, who is scheduled to sentence Porter on Oct. 16, in Charleston.
Nine other individuals have agreed to enter guilty pleas in the kickback scheme, including one from Mingo County.
Thursday’s guilty plea stems from an investigation being conducted by the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and West Virginia State Police. Assistant United States Attorney Meredith George Thomas is in charge of the prosecution.