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Total cost of Pilot Flying J fraud exceeds $150 million

Haslam AP

When allegations first emerged of rebate fraud at the truck-stop company run by Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, Haslam insisted that the situation involved a “very insignificant number of customers.”  And the company will now pay at least $150 million to make it all go away.

We’d hate to see how much money would have changed hands if the fraud were deemed to be significant.

As announced by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, who wisely ensured that the July 10 deal would be announced not on LeBron Day but today, the $92 million paid by Pilot Flying J to avoid prosecution does not include the $56 million already paid to customers who were defrauded.

While the deal does not specifically shield any individuals from prosecution, the fact that it was negotiated by Aubrey Harwell — who represents both Haslam and the company — surely means that Harwell firmly believes Haslam won’t be prosecuted.  Haslam would never have agreed to fork over that much cash without an assurance that he won’t be sacrificing a moment of his freedom.

The next question becomes whether the agreement exposes Haslam to any sort of scrutiny under the league’s personal conduct policy.  We’ve posed that question to the league office.  As soon as we get an answer, and as quickly as I can hunt-and-peck a post together, we’ll share it right here.

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56 Responses to “Total cost of Pilot Flying J fraud exceeds $150 million”
  1. robert831 says: Jul 14, 2014 2:07 PM

    This pennies to Flying J. Accordinging to Forbes Flying J 2013 Revenue=$30.43 Billion!!! What a joke.

  2. 4thquartermagic says: Jul 14, 2014 2:08 PM

    “The next question becomes whether the agreement exposes Haslam to any sort of scrutiny under the league’s personal conduct policy.”

    Jim Irsay tweeted a response:

    “Nope. #AboveTheShield”

  3. moeman79 says: Jul 14, 2014 2:08 PM

    Should have donated more to King nothing’s campaign

  4. Bob Loblaw says: Jul 14, 2014 2:09 PM

    Personal conduct doesn’t apply to owners (Irsay and his thousands in cash and keys of coke found in his car should prove that).

    NFL = doublestandard on this issue.

  5. dericivy says: Jul 14, 2014 2:12 PM

    Lovely country we have here, if you have the cash you can just buy your way out of trouble in our legal system.

    So the lesson is, go ahead and defraud people, you wont go to jail, you’ll just have to pay some of it back.

  6. thestrategyexpert says: Jul 14, 2014 2:13 PM

    Doesn’t the NFL have a form and EFT authorization to buy out of that scrutiny too?

  7. kd75 says: Jul 14, 2014 2:14 PM

    Mets fans sympathize…

  8. audient says: Jul 14, 2014 2:14 PM

    If you thought Swagger was a lucky dog, I give you Jimmy Haslam.

  9. kd75 says: Jul 14, 2014 2:15 PM

    Jeff Wilpon feels your pain…

  10. calvinthegreat82 says: Jul 14, 2014 2:16 PM

    My Lions are already better than the Seahawks, we just need a darn QB. That Stafford kid can’t play at a high level. Once we get a real QB the dynasty will begin…

  11. isphet71 says: Jul 14, 2014 2:18 PM

    This particular fisaco is basically concluded. People will talk about it for a day or two, but only until the next NFL knucklehead makes a new story.

    The American Public’s memory is only as long as the next headline.

  12. pfu2 says: Jul 14, 2014 2:20 PM

    Good, now free Josh Gordon!

  13. uwsptke says: Jul 14, 2014 2:23 PM

    Let’s recap:

    Player A and Player B both fail multiple tests for recreational drugs (that other leagues don’t even test for). Player A awaits what is likely to be a one year suspension. Player B is suspended indefinately and is promptly cut.

    Player C is shown on video knocking his fiancee unconscious. Suspension pending (probably 2 games).

    Owner D is pulled over for reckless driving and is found to have several illicit drugs on his person. No word on what punishment will be, but will probably be pretty light.

    Owner E is CEO of a company that defrauded his customers out of tens of millions of dollars. He escapes both criminal prosecution and league punishment.

    These consequences don’t make sense. You can’t reconcile a system that bans players multiple games/years for smoking marijuana, yet give a wife-beater a relative slap on the wrist and turn a blind eye to the indiscretions and outright criminal behavior of its owners.

  14. marvinmillersucks says: Jul 14, 2014 2:24 PM

    Swagger may get suspended for 6 games if he tries something with a Swaggerette in a bar bathroom in Midgeville GA….but Jimmy still gets his seat in the box at Heinz Field on September 7th.

  15. mrbigass says: Jul 14, 2014 2:28 PM

    The new mascot sez, ” Woof? ”

  16. mrbigass says: Jul 14, 2014 2:30 PM

    Awesome pic by the way…..

  17. steelerben says: Jul 14, 2014 2:33 PM

    Steal $1,000 and you go to jail for 5-10 years. Steal millions and you only need to give a little of it back.

  18. schmitty2 says: Jul 14, 2014 2:36 PM

    Make sense…the Browns have defrauded fans for way more than that by making them pay to see the constant poor product they roll out every year.

  19. revelation123 says: Jul 14, 2014 2:43 PM

    Physically or financially hurt someone? That’s ok, after a slap on the wrist everything is forgiven.

    Hurt nobody but continue to take drugs or drive drunk? You’re evil! Say goodbye to your career!

  20. nickinneohio says: Jul 14, 2014 2:46 PM

    Lovely country we have here, if you have the cash you can just buy your way out of trouble in our legal system.

    DUH O.J

  21. uglydingo says: Jul 14, 2014 2:51 PM

    Smile Jimmy. This time you avoided jail.

  22. scoonie97 says: Jul 14, 2014 2:52 PM

    Rich white dude avoids jail time? Shocking.

    Dan Snyder should be changing that name in no time.

  23. hsteacher says: Jul 14, 2014 2:55 PM

    Note to Johnny Football, stop doing legal activities that look bad!

    Note to Haslem, stop doing illegal activities that look bad!

  24. flybirdhaters27 says: Jul 14, 2014 2:58 PM

    He should be subject to the personal conduct policy. What he did or his company did was defraud millions from its customers. From a moral standpoint, it’s disgusting. I will be very interested to see what Ol’ Roger does with him and Irsay. Probably slaps on the wrist for both, which would be even more disturbing.

  25. coffeeblack95616 says: Jul 14, 2014 3:00 PM

    Lol, who are the simpletons who just realized that people with money get to get away with things. And they think it’s just in America? Wake up and see the world for what it is.
    And of course the owners get away with it as compared to the players. They’re the owners! Of course they aren’t going to punish themselves. And of course they have a double standard.
    The one point that I will state in favor of the owners is that, unlike the players, the owners had to spend millions to get into the league; the players were paid millions to get into the league.

  26. earvinmagicjackson says: Jul 14, 2014 3:06 PM

    Jimmy — captured showcasing his best Grumpy Cat.

  27. belicheathater says: Jul 14, 2014 3:08 PM

    Wow. Jimmy is a crook and cheater. I’m surprised he’s not part owner of the Patriots.

  28. broncostevenp says: Jul 14, 2014 3:15 PM

    LOL…that was funny. The league punishing an owner for bad conduct.

    Thanks man, haven’t had a good laugh like that in a long long time.

  29. justintuckrule says: Jul 14, 2014 3:23 PM

    Wilf and Haslam defrauded people of hundreds of millions. Irsay drives drunk and high on pain meds. The three of them get ooon gats.

    Poor Lavon Brazill smoked some pot and lost his career.

    Way to protect the shield, Rog.

  30. bensbigbrokennose says: Jul 14, 2014 3:24 PM

    People are so stupid. If there was evidence Haslem was involved in fraud the Feds would have loved to prosecute him. People went to jail…the one’s that were guilty.

  31. oldcracker says: Jul 14, 2014 3:26 PM

    Why am I not surprised?

  32. Getoffmylawn! says: Jul 14, 2014 3:28 PM

    It’s ok, we can do anything, we are NFL owners, remember?

  33. orivar says: Jul 14, 2014 3:30 PM

    Manziel thinks Haslam should ‘tone it down’.

  34. mogogo1 says: Jul 14, 2014 3:38 PM

    Goodell is acting exactly like Stern did when he was running the NBA. As long as the money kept coming in, owners were allowed to do whatever they wanted. But how’d that work out with Sterling and the Clippers? The NFL is one Irsay car accident away from having a PR nightmare on their hands while Goodell has his head planted firmly in the sand.

  35. jetgreeeen says: Jul 14, 2014 3:50 PM

    Not sure why this really upsets me, I guess I’m just old school, nieve, and really really stupid.

    I don’t know who I’m more disappointed in, the Feds because they made/allowed the deal, or the crook Haslam owning an NFL team.

    Goodell has the power to meet out some real punishment, lets see if he has the balls.

  36. jjackwagon says: Jul 14, 2014 3:51 PM

    Or about the same amount of money the Broncos used to buy two SBs while cheating the salary cap.

  37. whatjusthapped says: Jul 14, 2014 3:51 PM

    The Viking’s owners, the WILF’s, think $150 million is pocket change. If you are going to commit criminal fraud, do it up big and then you will get a new stadium to boot.

    No Superbowls though, not that the Vikings or Browns are even close to that level.

  38. packerbackernj says: Jul 14, 2014 3:53 PM

    Why are corperations only people when it comes to righing elections and taking away employees basic rights to healthcare?

  39. computojon says: Jul 14, 2014 4:14 PM

    It’s not called “The Shield” for nothing. A shield is always used to shield… someone. From bad consequences.

  40. rcali says: Jul 14, 2014 4:17 PM

    How are those PSL’s treating you Browns Fans!

  41. gregmorris78 says: Jul 14, 2014 4:21 PM

    His brother is governor of Tennessee.

    That’s also a lot of insignificant customers.

    Looks like the NFL has another snake in their midsts…

  42. greymares says: Jul 14, 2014 4:21 PM

    I don’t know, when I think FRAUD in Cleveland. I think of Manziel.

  43. electricboogalo says: Jul 14, 2014 5:03 PM

    If corporations are people, then they should serve prison time.

  44. babygaga19 says: Jul 14, 2014 5:05 PM

    No worries. Le Bron and Johnny Football will pick up the tab.

  45. tinytoolalldrool says: Jul 14, 2014 5:21 PM

    What happens to the average tax payer if they make a “mistake’?

  46. notthetroll says: Jul 14, 2014 5:30 PM

    “If Haslam had any pull he would have gotten off easy.”

    -Lloyd Blankfein CEO Goldman Sachs

  47. crabbies2013 says: Jul 14, 2014 5:54 PM

    somebody sounds disappointed.

  48. thetooloftools says: Jul 14, 2014 6:09 PM

    Rich people pay fines, poor people go to prison. How is this even possible?

  49. mikejune says: Jul 14, 2014 6:25 PM

    Will he be suspended by the NFL? This is a far worse crime than smoking weed.

  50. coachbeck says: Jul 14, 2014 7:18 PM

    Personal conduct policy? Stop trying to make things equal between owners and players. They aren’t and they shouldn’t be.

    All that partner talk is just a way for the union to make itself relevant.

    I know you have about 50 personal campaigns but this is one that’s stretched pretty thin.

  51. nosleeptilsb says: Jul 14, 2014 7:24 PM

    ‘I am not a crook!’ Short Dick Nixon.

  52. coachbeck says: Jul 14, 2014 7:36 PM

    Wow lots of you need to stop repeating your Obama/Nbc lines to blame everyone else.

    To the packer guy: people lost healthcare because obamacare. Either you company offers a policy or Obama offers one. A plan that single men must pay for female reproductive checkups even though they will never use them. Hence driving the cost up.

  53. oldcracker says: Jul 14, 2014 7:44 PM

    LoL – “I am not a crook!”

  54. brownsmakemecrazy says: Jul 14, 2014 7:55 PM

    As the first poster mentioned their 30.43 billion in revenue. 150 million represents 0.49% of their revenue. I wish the NFL would come out and admit that the personal conduct policy doesnt apply to owners, Greg Aiello and Roger Goodell, and any of the higher ups.

    Goodell should be suspended for violating the personal conduct policy based on his 44 million dollar salary alone.

    Florio please ask Goidell if all the fines he doles out goes into his pocket. No wonder he wants to be judge, jury and executioner.

  55. gregmorris78 says: Jul 14, 2014 9:35 PM

    Despite the NFL’s soft stance on criminal deceit (personnel conduct violations) I tink it makes them look pretty bad and quite the hypocrites. Players should be really pissed at this obvious double standard…

    Punching a woman worse than defrauding thousands of people?

  56. wiseone50 says: Jul 21, 2014 3:01 PM

    I don’t think most billionaires are stupid enough to scam anyone for a few million or even 50 million bucks. It won’t even change their lifestyle one iota. Their business makes them enough money- legally. I would give him the benefit of the doubt.

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