Fifth Pilot employee pleads guilty to federal charges

Fifth Pilot employee pleads guilty to federal charges

Kevin Clark leaves federal court Tuesday. Kevin Clark leaves federal court Tuesday.

6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Three Pilot Flying J employees pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to charges of conspiracy and wire fraud.

Kevin Wallace Clark, James Stinnett, and Holly Radford pleaded guilty in exchange for providing information in the case.

Holly Radford, a regional account representative for Pilot, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud. 

She said she was responsible for deceiving ten to fifty customers out of between $200,000 and $400,000. 

James Stinnett, also a Pilot Flying J regional sales manager, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

Stinnett, a Pilot employee since 1995, admitted to deceptively reducing rebate amounts by targeting customers he thought were "unlikely to catch" the scheme. 

He also admitted to directing Pilot regional account representatives to reduce rebates by an amount he would email to them. 

Some Pilot employees were also taught about the manual rebate processes in sales meetings, according to Stinnett. 

Stinnett said he lied when a North Carolina trucking company confronted him about their rebates, telling them the rebate amount was correct. 

He faces a maximum of twenty years in prison. 

Clark, a regional sales manager based in Missouri, admitted to directing another employee to fraudulently reduce rebate amounts for trucking firms under contract with Pilot Flying J.

Clark faces a maximum of five years in prison for his involvement in the alleged Pilot scheme. The sentence could be reduced in exchange for his testimony as the investigation continues.

He said he had been an employee with the firm for nine years. The charge filed in court says Clark had been involved in the scheme to cheat customers since 2009.

Clark was the sales representative for W.N. Morehouse Trucking in Nebraska.

Curt Morehouse told 6 News he was "pleased to see the wheels of justice turning" and said he was "completely happy with the way Pilot is handling the investigation internally" and is glad to see "law enforcement handle it externally."

Two other Pilot Flying J employees pleaded guilty last month in connection with an FBI investigation into billing irregularities by the Knoxville-based truck stop firm.

Pilot Flying J was raided by the FBI on April 15 after a whistleblower tipped federal agents off that the company had been cheating regular diesel fuel customers, by reducing the amount of rebates their received through a Pilot rewards program.

Full Coverage of the Pilot Flying J Investigation

In court Tuesday, Clark waived his right to a grand jury as part of a plea deal. He admitted to defrauding NKC Trucking Transportation in Kansas City, Missouri.

Clark told U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Bruce Guyton he ordered another employee, Ashley Smith Judd, to falsify rebate records.

Smith Judd, 27, was a regional account representative for Pilot in Knoxville. She pleaded guilty on May 29 to one count of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States.

Arnold Lee Ralenkotter, 51, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. He was the Northeast regional sales manager for Pilot and was based in Hebron, Kentucky.

Smith Judd and Ralenkotter also agreed to cooperate with the FBI investigation.

Read the court documents:

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