Federal prosecutors have charged a former Consol Energy Inc. manager with 60 counts of mail fraud for an alleged royalties scheme that siphoned $440,000 from the company's interests at parcels in West Virginia and Illinois, according to charges filed Monday.
Scott Hamilton, 37, of Washington County, PA, who worked as the land records manager for Consol, has reached a plea agreement with the government and plans to plead guilty to the charges, which carry a maximum prison sentence of up to 20 years each, his attorney told local news media.
In 2009, prosecutors allege that Hamilton established a fake company using his home address in Houston, PA, to file deed transfers that turned Consol's royalty interests on the property over to the phony business, PRH LLC. To ensure that the deeds appeared genuine, he allegedly forged the signature of a notary public and made up names for a company representative and attorney.
Through 2011, the companies that processed the royalty payments then sent checks to PRH after the transfer deeds were certified.
A Consol representative said the company became aware of Hamilton's scheme when it realized royalties were missing. At that point, the company reported the situation to authorities.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is seeking the $440,000 it claims Hamilton stole. A hearing has not been set for the case.