Trial begins for former Pilot Flying J president accused of scamming truckers

The trial has begun for four former Pilot Flying J employees– including the company’s former president — who are accused of scheming to cheat “unsophisticated” truckers in a diesel rebate scam following a 2013 federal raid of the company’s headquarters.

Opening Remarks Begin In Trial For Four Former Pilot Flying J Employees

A jury of sixteen (twelve jurors plus four alternates) was seated in a Chattanooga court today and opening remarks are set to begin this afternoon for the trial, which is expected to last about six weeks. A truck driver was initially called up to serve on the jury but was later excused.

Ex-president Mark Hazelwood along with former sales vice president Scott Wombold and former sales representatives Heather Jones and Karen Mann are currently standing trial on fraud and conspiracy charges related to an infamous diesel rebate scheme targeting truckers who they reportedly believed were too unsophisticated to notice that they were being duped. If convicted, the former Pilot Flying J employees could face prison sentences.

Federal Agents Raided Headquarters Following Three Year Investigation

In April of 2013, the Pilot Flying J headquarters was raided by federal agents following a three year investigation. Hidden recordings captured by investigators caught the Pilot sales team speaking in unflattering terms about the trucking clients that they allegedly planned on duping: “Some of ’em don’t know what a spreadsheet is. I’m not kiddin’.”

Investigators say that the scheme had been going on since at least 2008.

Fourteen former Pilot Flying J employees have already pled guilty for their role in the scheme. Pilot Flying J has paid out a $92 million settlement to the after the company’s board of directors admitted to having criminal responsibility in the case. Pilot Flying J spent another $85 million settling lawsuits brought forth by trucking companies impacted by the scheme.

Company CEO Jimmy Haslam has not been personally charged and denies any knowledge of the diesel rebate scheme.