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FBI, IRS still mum about Pilot Flying J investigation

Pilot AP

Perhaps the most ominous aspect of Monday’s raid by FBI and IRS officials on the headquarters of Pilot Flying J, the company run by — and the self-proclaimed “first love” of — Browns owner Jimmy Haslam comes from the decision of the federal authorities to provide no information at all about the situation.

”Any details that would be released to the public would not be available for some time,” FBI spokesman Marshall Stone told the Associated Press in the aftermath of the lock down of the building.  It came swiftly, with the apparent goal of ensuring that no evidence would be modified or destroyed.

This tactic suggests suspicion that the targets of the investigation knew that they were doing something that was illegal or close to it.  Overall, the decision to swoop in and seize evidence implies that authorities were able to persuade a judge that probable cause exists to believe that one or more crimes have been committed.

Though the precise nature of the suspected crimes isn’t clear, the presence of the IRS points to potential violations of the federal tax laws, possibly arising from the manner in which this privately-owned billion-dollar business was keeping its books.  Price-gouging claims in the wake of Hurricane Ike may have landed the company on the IRS radar; matters of this nature also may come to light after disgruntled and/or conscientious employees blow the whistle.

For now, it appears that nothing more will be said by the feds until the time comes to issue indictments, if Monday’s raid yielded the evidence that authorities believed they would find.  None of this means that the charges will extend to the top of the organization, but it’s safe to say that the FBI and IRS will start at the bottom and work their way as high as the evidence will take them.

Absent some sort of a truck-stop omertà, there’s really no limit as to where this could go.

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28 Responses to “FBI, IRS still mum about Pilot Flying J investigation”
  1. myspaceyourface says: Apr 16, 2013 8:45 AM

    Our government wants to crack down on everyone else, yet they can’t get their own house in order.

  2. citiciti says: Apr 16, 2013 8:45 AM

    God hates us.
    Yours Truly,
    Browns Fans

  3. thestn says: Apr 16, 2013 8:51 AM

    Where there is smoke there is fire… this may be an UGLY situation for Haslam and Browns fans. Unbelievable the bad luck and garbage this franchise has dealt with the last 25 years.

  4. thefox61 says: Apr 16, 2013 8:59 AM

    At least they’ll have plenty of coffee and doughnuts just stay away from the BBQ meatball sticks

  5. wryly1 says: Apr 16, 2013 9:00 AM

    Haslam hired a CEO to run Pilot shortly after he acquired Browns – then abruptly replaced him with himself 6 months later. Gotta wonder if that ousted exec blew the whistle on what he discovered during his brief tenure.

  6. dretwann says: Apr 16, 2013 9:03 AM

    The NFL is wondering right now how in the hell did they step into this huge pile of horse $*it!! IRS…. FBI….. smells like money laundering to me. If it was a simple case of tax dodging, the FBI wouldn’t be needed. If was a simple criminal matter, the IRS wouldn’t be needed. Where they are both needed is when taxes and criminal behavior collide. As in Al Capone. I wouldn’t be surprised if this gives all the way to Haslam. Looks like the Browns will be searching for a new owner in 2 years time as his assests are taken and liquidated. Of course this is all speculative but signs are pointing in that direction.

  7. jmart1971 says: Apr 16, 2013 9:06 AM

    still, this is ten times better than what Saints fans had to go thru with BS bountygate

  8. therealpittbull says: Apr 16, 2013 9:07 AM

    The NFL will go so far into a prospects past, they know if he cried upon birth. The NFL owners and investigators didn’t do the same for Haslam? For his sake, just like the players, I hope nothing is wrong. But, if there is, he, the browns, and ownership should be held to a higher standard than players ever could. Immediate selling of the Browns should commence. I have a billion myself to pony up.

  9. raiderufan says: Apr 16, 2013 9:25 AM

    This can’t be good. As flawed as it is our government certainly doesn’t jump like this at a time like this without a very strong reason….can’t imagine them just picking up a leaving the building with a whoops our bad and nothing facing Pilot J.

  10. peytonwantsaflag says: Apr 16, 2013 9:44 AM

    Maybe Jimmy can get some of those Pilot lot-lizards that keep the truckers so happy to help him out with the irs.

  11. markread11 says: Apr 16, 2013 9:47 AM

    Haslam’s only hope is that someone who works for him is either a. willing to take the rap or b. is actually culpable…

  12. walter0247 says: Apr 16, 2013 10:01 AM

    I’d stop watching football if i was a browns fan.

  13. shoneys2013 says: Apr 16, 2013 10:02 AM

    I work for a company that supplies parts to the
    Pilot Travel Centers and Flying J and we were told
    the IRS and FBI backed up 4 U-Haul trucks and took away
    all the computers and sent everyone home.

  14. officialgame says: Apr 16, 2013 10:03 AM

    Haslam should have hired Joey Gallo instead of Joey Banner.

  15. bobbyhoying says: Apr 16, 2013 10:04 AM

    I’m sure this has absolutely nothing to do with the lack of a political donation.

  16. thegreatgabbert says: Apr 16, 2013 10:39 AM

    A couple of the company’s lesser known subsidiaries operating out of the basement of the facility seem to be the focus of the investigation. Flying Mash Home Distillation and Flying Meth Production Inc.

  17. thegreatgabbert says: Apr 16, 2013 10:43 AM

    Feds found nothing wrong with the financial accounting, but 31 employees, including all of the senior executives, will be indicted on kiddie porn charges.

  18. thegreatgabbert says: Apr 16, 2013 10:46 AM

    Turns out all the truck stop hookers were giving half their earnings to a man they call “Swagga Jim”.

  19. crownofthehelmet says: Apr 16, 2013 10:51 AM

    Nothing compared to spygate.

  20. brownspower says: Apr 16, 2013 11:19 AM

    If Jimmy is led away in handcuffs does that reset the “days without arrest” count?

  21. blindmansaidwhat says: Apr 16, 2013 11:40 AM

    No worries Browns fans…the games will STILL be played…Browns to sign Paul Crewe at QB and will be taking on Warden Hazen and the prison guards…Jimmy Haslem to serve as celebrity referee

  22. theemrsanity says: Apr 16, 2013 11:59 AM

    Jimmy is huge republican donor. His brother is a republican Governor. The NFL just vetted the guy using the former FBI director.

    This is nothing more than a liberal political hit exercised by the DNC and Obama. Nothing more, nothing less.

  23. sooner712 says: Apr 16, 2013 1:12 PM

    theemrsanity says:Apr 16, 2013 11:59 AM

    Jimmy is huge republican donor. His brother is a republican Governor. The NFL just vetted the guy using the former FBI director.

    This is nothing more than a liberal political hit exercised by the DNC and Obama. Nothing more, nothing less.
    ********************************************
    To quote the great Fred Sanford, “You big dummy!” The majority of the NFL owners are Republican, so why not go after Woody Johnson he publicly endorsed Romney. You logic or lack of it belongs on a TP blog not polluting our football source of news and information!!!

  24. pmars64 says: Apr 16, 2013 1:26 PM

    The Republican conspiracy yahoos are hilarious. Obama is nothing more than Republican-light anyway. Most of Wall Street is Republican and, last I checked, none of those guys are serving time for pulling off the greatest heist in world history. In fact, Obama got more donations from those guys in his first election than McCain.

    As for Haslam, something smells pretty rotten if the FBI and IRS were compelled to act. They give every break in the book for fraudulent business behavior so it’s got to be pretty bad.

    New Browns owner in 2014? I wouldn’t mind if the ugly little troll Banner and “please, please, please hire me” Lombardi are dumped.

  25. istateyourname says: Apr 16, 2013 1:29 PM

    To make a billion dollar omelet, you’re going to have to break a few eggs. This is nothing, blame the accounting firm, fire them, institute a couple of reforms and move on. Business as usual.

  26. nobreak1269 says: Apr 16, 2013 1:59 PM

    Haslam has the same luck as the Browns-worse than bad.

  27. thepopsavant says: Apr 16, 2013 4:31 PM

    He and his brother, Governor Bill are in a bunch of trouble…

  28. phillyphannn83 says: Apr 16, 2013 5:34 PM

    Thanks for your censorship Florio.

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