A federal judge has sentenced a former Consol Energy Inc. manager to 30 months in prison and ordered him to pay a $5,000 fine for a royalties scheme in which he stole $440,000 from the company's interests at parcels in West Virginia and Illinois. Scott D. Hamilton, 38, who worked as a land records manager for Consol, pleaded guilty to 60 counts of mail fraud in November after federal prosecutors filed charges against him (see Shale Daily, Sept. 23, 2014). He has also paid back the $440,000 in restitution. From 2009 to 2011, Hamilton established a fake company to file deed transfers that turned Consol's royalty interests over to him. He forged signatures of a notary public and made up names for a company representative and attorney to ensure that the deeds appeared genuine, according to prosecutors.
Republic Steel said it would temporarily lay off about 200 workers from its Lorain, OH, plant because of declining demand from the oil and gas industry. The plant, about 30 miles west of Cleveland, will lay off both hourly and salaried workers. It is unclear how long the layoffs will last. The plant is the latest in the Appalachian Basin to announce cutbacks related to the drop in commodity prices. Vallourec Star LP, TMK IPSCO and U.S. Steel Corp., which announced layoffs at its Lorain plant in January, have all announced work-stoppages and job cuts (see Shale Daily, Feb. 4). The facilities make steel pipe for oil and gas wells.