Eight former employees of Jimmy Haslam’s Pilot Flying J Travel Centers have been indicted for their role in a fuel rebate fraud probe by federal prosecutors that reached $56 million in losses to customers.
The indictments were opened Tuesday during proceedings in U.S. Federal Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.
The indictments include: Former Pilot Flying J President Mark Hazelwood, former Vice President of Sales John Freeman and six other former employees of Pilot's sales division.
Tuesday's indictments follow a federal probe that has already led 10 other former Pilot employees to enter guilty pleas in plea agreements reached with federal prosecutors.
Haslam, who has never been charged with a crime, has been fully cooperating with federal investigators since the FBI raided his Knoxville company’s headquarters in April, 2013 seizing volumes of records detailing how company sales representatives allegedly cheated truckers out of millions in fuel rebates.
The criminal investigation began as early as 2011 when a former Pilot employee began telling the FBI about allegedly fraudulent sales tactics.
In November, 2013, Pilot reached a $85 million global settlement with trucking companies to resolve a class action lawsuit.
In addition, in July, 2014, Pilot entered into a criminal enforcement agreement with the government to resolve the company’s criminal liability for its employees fraudulent conduct as alleged by prosecutors.
Details of the scheme were released following the 2013 raid in a 159-page indictment that included transcripts of pilot sales employees allegedly discussing how to cheat truckers.
Pilot Flying J is the largest operator of travel centers in North America and is ranked near the top of Forbe’s list of America’s largest private companies with revenues of more than $30 million.