Fleets were allegedly bilked out of rebates, prosecutors say. Photo: Jim Park

Fleets were allegedly bilked out of rebates, prosecutors say. Photo: Jim Park

A date and location have been set for the trial of former Pilot Flying J executives in a fuel rebate scandal alleging a conspiracy and scheme to defraud customers, according to a report in the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Prosecutors and defendant lawyers agreed to hold the trial in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Halloween of this year. However, a district judge is reportedly exploring moving the trial farther away from Pilot’s headquarters in Knoxville.

Ex-Pilot Flying J president Mark Hazelwood and seven other company executives are being accused of defrauding customers of millions of dollars by cutting the amount of rebates they received for buying certain amounts of fuel. Pilot owner and CEO Jimmy Haslam was not among those indicted in the case and he has denied any knowledge of the fuel rebate scheme.

Federal investigators found that Pilot promised fuel rebates to trucking customers but never actually paid them out, defrauding the 5,500 customers of more than $56 million. In 2014, the company reached a $92 million settlement with authorities and promised to help with the ongoing investigation. Pilot also settled with trucking customers that sued the company for $87 million.

In addition to fraud charges, Hazelwood has also been charged with witness tampering, and former vice president of direct sales Scott Wombold has been charged with lying to agents with the FBI and IRS. Ten former Pilot employees have already pleaded guilty to the scheme.