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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Eight former and current Pilot Flying J employees are scheduled to face trial on Oct. 24, 2017. A federal grand jury indicted them for their alleged roles in a diesel rebate scheme that authorities claim illegally benefited Pilot Flying J’s bottom line, while also padding the pockets of each of the accused employees.
Indicted are: former Pilot Flying J President Mark Hazelwood; Scott "Scooter" Wombold, vice president of national accounts; John “Stick” Freeman, former vice president of sales; account representative Katy Bibee; account representative Heather Jones; Vicki Borden, director of wholesale and inside sales; Karen Mann, regional account representative; and John Spiewa, regional sales manager in Ohio.
All of the defendants have pleaded not guilty in the case. An additional 10 employees have pleaded guilty to mail fraud and wire fraud in U.S. District Court in Knoxville.
According to WBIR.com, prosecutors have turned over more than eight terabytes of data regarding the case, which translates to millions of pages.
Hazelwood’s attorney, Rusty Hardin — well known for defending celebrity sports clients — said defense attorneys are “sifting through mountains of evidence,” but had “no complaints” thus far, the news outlet reported.
Prosecutors have accused the indicted of eliminating the competition, driving up profits and increasing commissions for its sales representatives and executives.
Pilot Flying J already reached an $85-million civil settlement with dozens of trucking companies. The retailer also agreed to cooperate with the ongoing criminal investigation and pay a $92-million penalty.
Pilot Flying J's Knoxville headquarters were first raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service on April 15, 2013.