Jimmy Haslam's attorney calls guilty pleas by Pilot Flying J employees 'regrettable'

Attny insists Haslam had 'no knowledge' of fraud

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Jimmy Haslam's attorney called Wednesday's guilty pleas by two Pilot Flying J employees "regrettable" and insisted Haslam had "no knowledge" of fraud involving a fuel rebate scheme.

Nashville-based attorney Aurbrey B. Harwell, Jr. said he is "very confident" that those who have entered guilty pleas will "tell the truth" in regard to his client and any suggestion of involvement is "non-existent."

Arnold Ralenkotter, a regional sales director for Pilot Flying J, pleaded guilty to mail and wire fraud in U.S. District Court in Knoxville. Ashley Judd, who was employed as a regional account representative, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

Both have entered plea agreements with federal prosecutors.

"Given the raid by federal agents on April 15, 2013 and the affidavit that was filed by FBI agents, this comes as no surprise," Harwell explained. "You cannot read the affidavit and not realize that people acted inappropriately and agreed to plead guilty."

Harwell said Haslam "regrets that events gave rise to criminal prosecution." The attorney insists that "given the size of Pilot Flying J, Haslam would "have no knowledge" of fraud committed by some employees.

At least eight trucking firms have sued Pilot over the rebate program. FBI agents raided the company's headquarters April 15.

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