Prestonsburg coal mine operator indicted on mail-fraud charges

The operator of a Prestonsburg coal mine was indicted Thursday on five counts of mail fraud, a press release from the office of United States Attorney Edwin Walbourn III said.

According to the release, Pamela Allen, 52, is listed as the sole officer of Sly Branch Energy, an underground coal mine operation that contracted to extract coal in Floyd County and other areas in Eastern Kentucky.

Allen is accused of under-reporting monthly payroll and the number of coal miners working for her to Kentucky Employers Mutual Insurance from May 2004 to May 2005. By doing this, she paid the organization less than full value for workers' compensation insurance, the release said.

Allen allegedly furthered her scheme through a purported trucking company called Altrite. Allen, who is also listed as the sole officer of Altrite, never bought workers' compensation insurance for the company and placed many of her Sly Branch Energy employees on Altrite's payroll, the release said; this enabled her to under-report the mining company's payroll and number of employees.

Allen's court date has not been set. If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in prison.