SHARE

A former Consol Energy executive was sentenced to two and a half years in federal prison Wednesday after stealing $440,000 in gas royalties.

Scott D. Hamilton, 38, pleaded guilty in November to two counts of mail fraud tied to the thefts, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said.

Hamilton served as the lands records general manager for Pennsylvania-based Consol in 2009.

While at the Consol he transferred mineral right deeds on a 1,100 acre site in West Virginia and a 95 acre site in Illinois to himself by using assumed names and forging the signature of a notary.

The natural gas royalties from the sites were sent to a phony company Hamilton set up and registered to a Pennsylvania P.O box.

The stolen royalty checks where then deposited into a bank account controlled by Hamilton and registered under the name of his bogus company.

The fraud was eventually discovered by Consol and reported to authorities.

Hamilton was initially charged with 60 counts of fraud and faced up to 20 years in prison after a U.S. postal inspector probe last September, WPXI said.

Hamilton repaid the stolen royalties in November after he pleaded guilty to the mail fraud charges.

In addition to the prison term U.S. District Judge David Cercone sentenced Hamilton to two years of probation and fined him $5,000.