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Alleged Pilot Flying J tipster describes his role in secret FBI audio recordings

Whistleblower appeared in federal court
Posted: 9:02 PM, Sep 14, 2016
Updated: 2016-09-14 21:02:48-04

The man who says he is the confidential FBI source that triggered a criminal probe into Jimmy Haslam's Pilot Flying J truck stop chain alleges he was fired as a financial analyst for his role as a whistleblower.

John Verble appeared in a federal courtroom in Cleveland Wednesday where his attorneys argued Verble was unfairly fired from his position with Morgan Stanley in the weeks following the April 2013 FBI raid at Pilot Flying J headquarters in Knoxville.

The case is being heard before a panel of judges with the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals where Verble is appealing a lower court ruling that found no wrongdoing by Morgan Stanley  regarding Verble's departure from the company.

Verble insists that in the weeks following the FBI raid at Pilot Flying J, his Morgan Stanley bosses called him into an office and began questioning him about  suspected involvement with the FBI,  allegations about insider trading at Morgan Stanley and alleged fuel rebate fraud at Pilot Flying J.

"The first thing they asked me," said Verble, " are you recording this conversation."

Verble told them no and says they continued to question him.

"What information have you given the FBI regarding questionable activities here and with Pilot Flying J?"

Again, Verble said he had no comment.

Verble says he was advised by the FBI to say nothing if approached on the topic and said he called the FBI and informed them of what had happened.

With regard to his role as the alleged confidential source that triggered the Pilot Flying J criminal investigation only to lose his job , Verble says " I think courage and doing the right thing has been punished".

Verble says when the FBI recordings are finally revealed he insists they will be revealing--but declined to go into detail.

So far, ten former Pilot Flying J employees have entered guilty pleas and are cooperating with federal prosecutors.

Both the company's president and vice-president have been indicted on fraud charges.

Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam has  never been charged with any wrongdoing and has consistently denied he had any knowledge of the alleged fraud that resulted in trucking companies being cheated out of millions of dollars.

An October 2017 criminal trial is scheduled to begin in U.S. District Court in Knoxville.