A seven-state investigation has resulted in the indictments of four persons on charges of cheating 64 New York-area investors out of $3 million by setting up phony coal mines, authorities said yesterday.
The indictments by a Manhattan grand jury were announced by Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, who acted on information from the Leviticus Project Association, which probes corruption in the coal industry.
The indictments resulted from an investigation conducted by New York and six other states. The 64 investors were all from the metropolitan area.
Last Feb. 20, the association received a grant of $1 million from the U.S. Law Enforcement Assistance Administration to help in its work. At that time, officials said organized crime was involved in the coal industry.
The four, each accused of three counts of scheming to defraud, are William Nardone, 49, of Lawrence, N.Y., Penny Verbell, 41, of Bayside, Queens, Irwin Suslak, 56, of Manhattan, and Ernest Bush, 45, of Douglasville, Ga.
If convicted, each faces up to four years in jail on each count.
Morgenthau said that between August 1978 and December 1978, the defendants conducted three related schemes to defraud the investors by selling them interests in phony coal mines in Georgia and Alabama.