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Federal Probe Alleges Pilot Flying J Defrauded Customers

April 19, 2013

By Evan Lockridge

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Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam said in a statement responding to FBI allegations that "any willful wrongdoing by any employee of this company at any time is intolerable."
Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam said in a statement responding to FBI allegations that "any willful wrongdoing by any employee of this company at any time is intolerable."

Details have started to emerge following a raid by the FBI and IRS on the Knoxville, Tenn., headquarters of the truckstop chain Pilot Flying J.

According to published reports, an FBI affidavit filed in Federal Court in Knoxville, which was used to secure multiple search warrants that were executed earlier this week, says that the bureau’s investigation was into a potential “conspiracy and scheme to defraud...to deceptively withhold diesel fuel price rebates and discounts from Pilot customers ... without the knowledge or approval of the customer, for the dual purposes of increasing the profitability of Pilot and increasing the diesel sales commissions of the Pilot employees...”

The warrants were not only for the company headquarters but also for three residences, one in Nashville, another in Kentucky and the third in Iowa.

The FBI alleges the company sales people “targeted unsophisticated trucking companies” for years by cutting the amount of rebates they received for buying certain amounts of fuel.

The affidavite names more than 30 current and former employees of Pilot Flying J, including CEO Jimmy Haslam. The investigation is based on many talks with company employees; one confidential source told the FBI that Haslam and company president Mark Hazelwood discussed the alleged fraud during sales meetings.

The document says one trucking company lost nearly $150,000 because of the alleged scheme and refers to a “confidential informant” who blew the whistle on the company’s practices.

The investigation began nearly two years ago.

“I maintain that the foundation of this company is built on its integrity and that any willful wrongdoing by any employee of this company at any time is intolerable,” said Haslam in a statement released Thursday evening. “I value the relationships we have with our customers, our vendors and our team members across this country and regret that they have to go through this with us, but I trust and believe their faith in this company and its principles has never been misplaced.”

The IRS is reportedly involved due to how Pilot Flying J accounts for money that it gives back in rebates to customers so it can be properly accounted for and tracked.

Haslam is the owner of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns football team and is also the brother of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. Gov. Haslam earlier this week said he has not been involved in the business of the company in 15 years but still has an interest in the privately owned operation, which is managed in a blind trust.

Pilot Flying J has more than 650 truckstops in the United States and Canada and did more than $29 billion in business last year.

Comments

  1. 1. Drew McElroy [ April 20, 2013 @ 06:16PM ]

    Sued Pilot FlyingJ today for fuel rebated fraud. Looking for other affected companies to add to suit. Drew@drewmcelroy.net

  2. 2. Petersen M. Lee [ June 09, 2013 @ 11:36PM ]

    Pilot Flying J Travel Plaza, store 602 at 224 Daniel Payne Drive Birmingham AL 35207

    The Flying J took points of my fuel reward card for a purchase I didn't make. When I called there customer care center on 05/31/2013 to report the problem the lady that I talked to named Pam, wasn't much concerned and acted like I was trying to get something for nothing. I did what they said I must do to earn my points and I want them. I think this is just another way for them to commit a fraud against it's trucker customers a little at a time, something they think will go un-noticed. Below is what I submmited to there customer web site 06/09/2013. I know it's just $5.48 cents, but $5.48 times a 1.500 truck drivers a day nation wide adds up to a saving for them.

    On May 30,2013 between 1:38 A.M. & 1:49 A.M.I made a fuel purchase on pump 23. On this night I redeemed my free cup of coffee, this was the only purchase I made. You can check your security cams and you'll see I the tall black man that was standing behind the police officer that made a purchase. On May 31, 2013 between 1:30 A.M. & 1:49 A.M.I made a fuel purchase pump 21. This was the only purchase I made that night. When I got home a checked my reward points I found that I had been cheated out of $5.48 I call your customer service line and talk to (Pam)I gave her my card info and she said that I had purchased 2- gal. of nestles bottle water, she told me the time, what register I was on. I didn't make any such purchase and you cameras will prove it. It will have to show me, after checking your promotion for that water at the counter with 3-gal of that water. It was buy 2 and get 1 free. And going to back at my truck with it. If I had did something wrong in your store you would not hesitate pull your video tapes to prove I was the person that committed a crime, now use It to find the fault in your system. I will not let this rest if I have take it to court. I earned my points and I want them. Petersen M. Lee

  3. 3. Virginia Moore [ February 01, 2014 @ 11:29AM ]

    they are screwing regular customers out of the points I had a dollar fifty one in points well I want to stop at the pilot truck stop off of exit 398 and strawberry Plains Tennessee over by the area that I live in and when I got my husband and myself a coffee it said I had 51 cents in two days prior I had a dollar fifty one in points they let somebody or they themselves took my dollar off in point I've had it happen to me a couple of times I call the customer service number and the guy basically left at me well Bill Haslam pilot here in Tennessee and Knoxville Tennessee and I'm contacting him on Monday then I'm contacting somebody at the White House to deal with this s*** because this is grounds for a lawsuit and I'm not dealing with this s*** I bought 80 dollars worth of coffee to get that dollar off and then you like Shafting me not happening not happening

  4. 4. Virginia Moore [ February 01, 2014 @ 11:32AM ]

    and you're something else for you too I stop back today to check to see if they gave me my dollar back and point which they haven't and the guy said that somebody two days ago be deemed my points so apparently the only got 10 dollars in gas well by the time I'm done with pilot I'm contacting the media and I'm showing them how pilot gave me 3 reciepts and they have it with my phone number somebody else's account number in my regular account number that I've had

 

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