Two Pilot Flying J employees agreed to plead guilty in a U.S. District Court in Knoxville, Tennessee on Wednesday for their part in the rebate scheme.
Arnold Ralenkotter, Regional Sales Director, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and Regional Accounts Representative Ashley Smith Judd pleaded guilty to conspiracy.
According to the Wall Street Journal, as part of the plea deal, Ralenkotter agreed to “provide substantial assistance to” investigators.
Affidavits report that Ralenkotter’s home was searched the same day FBI agents raided Pilot Flying J’s headquarters.
“Mr. Ralenkotter agreed that he not only deceptively withheld discounts from Pilot customers but approved spreadsheets that reflected the actual rebates customers were due and the ‘recommended amounts by which to deceptively reduce the targeted customers’ rebates without telling the affected customers,'” the Wall Street Journal reported.
The two are the first to be formally charged in the investigation.
To date, eight lawsuits have been filed against Pilot Flying J. Pilot Flying J.
On the Pilot Flying J website Pilot Flying J spokesman, Tom Ingram released a statement regarding the plea deals: “The statements released by the federal court today do not come as a surprise given what we’ve been learning in our own internal investigations, but are nonetheless disappointing. We want to assure our customers that we are taking every step to correct any wrongdoing that has occurred and to make certain that it does not happen again.”