Bankrupt Wyoming coal firm under investigation for fraud

The federal government has been investigating possible fraud in Blackjewel, the company that owns two Wyoming coal mines. (MGN)

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) – A new court filing has revealed the federal government began a fraud investigation into coal company Blackjewel LLC prior to the company's sale last week of two Wyoming coal mines.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports the document filed Saturday indicates the investigation also preceded Blackjewel's July bankruptcy filing.

Court documents say Blackjewel owes the federal government about $50 million.

The court filing says the government has been investigating Blackjewel's potential violations of the False Claims Act, which holds corporations liable for defrauding the government.

The government has asked a West Virginia federal bankruptcy court to delay discharging Blackjewel of its debts, which would allow the investigation to continue.

A federal judge approved the sale of the Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines to Eagle Specialty Materials without Blackjewel's debt obligations.

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