The criminal prosecution against employees of Pilot Flying J, the national truck-stop company run by Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, seemed to die down during the 2013 football season. The courtesy, if there was one, extended through the firing of the team’s head coach and hiring of a new one.
But now the cases are moving forward again. According to John Caniglia of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, three more Pilot Flying J have pleaded guilty to federal charges relating to the customer rebate scam.
Brian Mosher, Christopher Andrews, and Lexie Holden bring the total number of persons pleading guilty to 10. Like the others, the latest persons to plead guilty have agreed to cooperate with the ongoing federal probe.
Mosher, Pilot Flying J’s national director of sales, pleaded guilty to committing rebate fraud against anywhere from 50 to 250 customers, for a total loss of $7 million to $20 million.
By securing a guilty plea and a commitment to cooperate from the company’s national director of sales, the feds could be moving closer to determining whether enough evidence exists to pursue charges against Haslam.
Haslam vehemently denies having any knowledge of the fraudulent practices. As more and more of his employees plead guilty, however Haslam’s Sgt. Schulz-style defense paints a picture of gross negligence and arguably willful ignorance of the things that were happening under his nose.