Eastern Kentucky Coal Operator Sentenced To Three Years For Fraud

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - An eastern Kentucky coal mine operator who lied to insurance companies about the number of employees he had was sentenced to three years in prison on Monday.

Harold Simpson, who has operated mines in several eastern Kentucky counties, must also pay $1.5 million in restitution, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported on its Web site.

Simpson pleaded guilty to mail fraud in March after admitting he sent inaccurate payroll information to workers' compensation insurance companies. Simpson told the companies he had half the number of employees he actually did. By underreporting, Simpson saved money because the premiums are based heavily on the number of employees working at a site.

U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Hood called Simpson "just a thief" and dismissed defense attorney Steven S. Reed's request for a lesser sentence.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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