Company Run By Browns Owner Settles Criminal Case

By
M.L. Schultze - WKSU/Ohio Public Radio


Updated Mon, Jul 14, 2014 3:21 pm
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The U.S. attorneys office has reached a deal to settle criminal charges against the truck-stop company run by Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam. The settlement in criminal charges is for nearly $150 million.

The settlement is called a “criminal enforcement agreement,” and resolves questions of Pilot Flying J’s involvement in a massive diesel fuel fraud.

The Tennessee-based company said it will not contest any of the allegations against it. It’s agreeing to pay more than $56 million to the hundreds of mostly small trucking companies that were swindled out of promised rebates on purchases of diesel fraud. And it is paying a $92 million fine to the U.S. government.

U.S. Attorney Bill Killian said he cannot comment on the settlement because the criminal investigation is ongoing. And the settlement underlines that the deal “provides no protection from prosecution of any individual.” It also commits the company to “complete cooperation” with prosecutors and said it will keep reporting to the U.S. attorney what it is doing to ensure no more fraud.

The investigation of Pilot Flying J became public with a raid on the company’s Knoxville headquarters on April 15, 2013. Since then, 10 employees – including high-level managers – have agreed to plead guilty. Others have left the company. Haslam insists he knew nothing about the fraud at the company founded and owned by his family and run by him.

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