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Jury in Pilot Flying J fraud case hears Haslam's voice on secret recording

Posted at 5:42 PM, Nov 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-28 17:45:02-05

A potential bombshell was dropped Tuesday in the Pilot Flying J fraud trial in Knoxville.

Our 5 On Your Side Investigators have been following the case involving the company owned by Browns owner Jimmy Haslam for years. 


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In a secret recording played in court Tuesday, we hear Haslam make comments during a sales meeting.  

Right now, four Pilot Flying J executives are on trial for fraud in connection to the company's fuel rebate scam. 

Although Haslam has been referenced throughout the trial, Tuesday marks the first time his voice has been heard on tape.

In federal court, the secret recording was played to jurors. 

A reporter with the Knoxville News Sentinel says Haslam could be heard commenting during a training session at the company headquarters. 

During part of that training, attendees were allegedly told how to commit the fraud to undercut the competition, offer fuel rebates and then not pay out the full amount. 

It's not clear if Haslam was part of that training but, according to the reporter, at one point Haslam said: "Sounds like Stick's old deal with Western."

It's believed that's a reference to an incident where former vice president John "Stick" Freeman was caught shorting rebates to Western Express.

So far, 14 Pilot employees have pleaded guilty. Haslam has not been charged and insists he knew nothing about the rebate scheme.

In 2014, the company paid a $92 million fine and accepted responsibility for the criminal conduct of its employees.