One prison sentence wasn’t enough for this former Kentucky lawmaker

A former Eastern Kentucky lawmaker pleaded guilty to identity theft Thursday under a plea deal that calls for a two-year prison sentence.

Former state Rep. Keith Hall, a democrat from Pikeville who is already serving a 7-year sentence in another case, was charged last year with three counts of wire fraud, two counts of identity theft and one count of lying to the FBI.

Under his deal with prosecutors, Hall pleaded guilty to one count of identity theft. In turn, they will recommend a 2-year prison sentence, a maximum fine of $250,000 and no more than one year of supervised release.

The other five charges, the most serious of which could have carried a 20-year sentence, would be dismissed.

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Hall is currently serving a 7-year sentence following a 2015 conviction for bribing a state inspector to overlook violations at his surface coal mines.

The new case involves a Pike County company called S&H Chemical Co. LLC, which supplied chemicals and water-treatment products to coal companies. The company’s owners were listed in the indictment as S.H. and J.H., with J.H. identified as Hall’s son.

Hall owned coal companies that operated in conjunction with S&H Chemical, and Hall “generally oversaw” the operation of S&H, the indictment said.

B&W Resources, a London mining company that bought chemicals from S&H, required vendors to show proof that they had valid liability and workers compensation insurance, the indictment said.

When B&W requested proof of insurance from S&H in April 2015, Hall cooked up a scheme to fool the company by submitting falsified documents, according to the indictment.

Hall allegedly gave B&W at least four fake certificates showing that S&H had insurance.

Hall was a state lawmaker for 14 years before being defeated for re-election in 2014.

He was indicted in federal court that year for allegedly funneling $46,000 to Kelly Shortridge, a state surface-mine inspector, so that Shortridge would ignore or delay enforcement of environmental violations at Hall’s mines.

Hall is scheduled to be released from prison in June 2022 in that case.

Will Wright is a corps member with Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project. Reach him at 859-270-9760, @HLWright

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