4 sign guilty pleas in Pilot Flying J fuel rebate scandal

Local News

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Four people have agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud in the Pilot Flying J fuel rebate scheme.

According to court documents, the pleas were filed Monday on behalf of former Vice President of Sales John “Stick” Freeman, District Sales Director Vicki Borden, Direct Sales Regional Sales Manager John Spiewak and Direct Sales Account Representative Katy Bibee.Previous story:Pilot Flying J trial set for October 31 in Chattanooga

The documents say the charges are related to a multi-million dollar scheme where the employees tricked trucking companies into thinking they were getting fuel rebates. The employees were really raking in the extra commission.

Trial for the remaining defendants, former President Mark Hazelwood former Vice President of Direct Sales Scott “Scooter” Wombold, and direct sales account representatives Heather Jones and Karen Mann is still set to begin on October 31. The deadline to plead has passed.

Pilot Flying J issued a statement saying they’re “saddened” by the news.

“We are saddened by news of the pleas of four people who worked for Pilot Flying J acknowledging that they participated in defrauding some of our diesel fuel customers. After learning of such improper activities more than four years ago, we made whole every customer negatively affected; entered into a Criminal Enforcement Agreement with the government, which included a $92 million penalty; continued to cooperate with the investigation; and made policy, procedure and staff changes to make certain nothing like this happens again.

“It is Pilot Flying J’s commitment to be a great partner to trucking companies across North America, always focusing our undivided attention on the best interests of our customers, team members and business.”

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