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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Though federal authorities are still keeping quiet about the details behind the investigation into Pilot Flying J, a company spokesman said the search warrants focus on its rebate program.
Tom Ingram, a spokesman for the Knoxville, Tenn.-based travel stop company, said Pilot Flying J executives have read the search warrants and everything focuses on the rebate program "as far as they can tell," according to WBIR.
However, that doesn't mean there isn't something else involved in the investigation, Ingram added.
Pilot Flying J's rebate program has been in place for several years, and it is unclear what issue raised the interest of the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service.
Ingram told the news outlet the warrants involved a sliver of trucking companies whose rebates are calculated manually. Those companies tend to be smaller and their business fluctuates from month to month, he added.
Ingram's statements echoed Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam's remarks made earlier this week. Haslam, whose father Jim founded the company in 1958, said in a press conference on Tuesday that Monday afternoon's raid of the company's headquarters was a result of claims of failure to pay rebates to a small number of trucking customers, as CSNews Online previously reported.
Burt Newman, vice president of Professional Transportation Partners, told Cleveland.com that rebates are a standard practice in the trucking industry. What makes Pilot Flying J different is that the company's rebates are so much better than competitors, Newman said.
"They offer rebates that are outrageous and impossible to compete against,'' Newman said, adding that Pilot Flying J can offer such rebates because it has about 600 truck stops/travel centers across the country.
Under the rebate system, a trucking company that buys 50,000 gallons of fuel from Pilot Flying J receives a certain amount of money as a rebate. If it buys 100,000 gallons, it receives another amount, noted Newman.
As of now, there have been no arrests or charges related to the investigation and Pilot Flying J is conducting business as usual.