It’s been more than four years since Pilot Flying J found itself suddenly embroiled in a major fraud case, arising from the failure to provide promised fuel rebates to trucking customers. At an ongoing federal trial in Tennessee, jurors heard for the first time on Tuesday the voice of Browns owner (and Pilot Flying J CEO) Jimmy Haslam, via a secretly-recorded tape.
A video update from Jamie Satterfield of the Knoxville News Sentinel explains the content and the context of Haslam’s comments. In short, his words seem to indicate awareness of the scheme to defraud customers by promising them a certain rebate, and then failing to honor it.
Four former Pilot Flying J executives currently are on trial for fraud. Multiple owners have previously pleaded guilty. Haslam steadfastly has insisted that he knew nothing about any improper activities.
In 2014, the company paid nearly $100 million in fines to avoid prosecution of the business entity, but as of February 2016 Haslam personally remained susceptible to indictment. He has never been charged.
NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart was asked about the situation during a Tuesday media briefing, given the breadth of the league’s Personal Conduct Policy. Lockhart said he’s not sufficiently familiar with the case to comment on whether Haslam would potentially face discipline.