Friday, May 1, 2015

Judge declines to sentence man in kickback case

A judge declined to sentence a 45-year-old man as planned Thursday for allegedly forcing companies to pay kickbacks for machine repair work.
Delbarton resident David Runyan is the former manager of an Arch Coal mine in Logan County. He pleaded guilty last year to a count of extortion and of tax evasion. Nine others have also pleaded guilty in crimes associated with the kickback scheme at the Sharples Mount Laurel mining complex.
Prosecutors have accused Runyan of benefiting from extortion schemes by forcing vendors and contractors to pay kickbacks, but U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston felt there wasn’t enough evidence of what happened to approve a plea agreement.
Johnston declared that if the prosecution and defense can’t agree on the facts, the case should go to trial. For Runyan to have committed extortion, it must be evident that he threatened or intimidated the vendors. He also insisted that getting the cases right is more important that trying to get them over with.
Another hearing on the case is scheduled for May 27.