clear
Wednesday December 13th, 2017 9:44AM

Testimony: Feds targeted Jimmy Haslam in phone call

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Federal agents used a Pilot Flying J employee to try to get Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam to make incriminating comments on the telephone, but court testimony suggests Haslam was aware he was making the call at their behest.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports former sales executive Brian Mosher, who has pleaded guilty to participating in a widespread scheme to defraud trucking customers, testified Tuesday that federal agents showed up at his Iowa home in April 2013 and had him call Haslam to say, "Jimmy, we've been caught."

Mosher said Haslam replied: "I understand there are some folks at your house," and then handed the phone to a lawyer in Pilot's legal department.

Haslam was not charged and denied any prior knowledge of the scheme. Fourteen other members of the Pilot sales department have pleaded guilty. The rebate scam caused the company to pay an $85 million settlement to scammed customers and a $92 million penalty to the government.

Pilot, the largest truck stop company in the U.S., had been promising rebates and price discounts to trucking companies as an incentive to continue buying fuel from their truck stops. But records show that the rebate program was complex and discounts varied by location, so it wasn't always easy for customers to keep up with how much they were due from Pilot's program.

Much of the testimony at the trial so far has focused on how Pilot executives targeted customers they considered too unsophisticated to recognize they were being ripped off.

The four former Pilot employees on trial in Chattanooga are former President Mark Hazelwood, former vice president Scott "Scooter" Wombold and two former saleswomen, Heather Jones and Karen Mann.

Court filings submitted before the trial detailed how investigators had executed a search warrant on Mosher's home about 45 minutes before launching a large raid at Pilot's headquarters in Knoxville. Investigators had hoped Mosher would make recorded calls to other Pilot employees on their behalf, but they were likely thwarted when Mosher's wife got in contact with Wombold, who in turn informed Hazelwood.

The jury on Tuesday for the first time heard an undercover recording of a voice identified by prosecutors as belonging to Haslam. The recording was made by a salesman working undercover for the FBI and IRS at a lake house meeting of the Pilot sales team in which junior employees were instructed about the fraud scheme and the dangers of getting caught by customers who were on top of their accounts.

Haslam in the recording spoke about "Stick's deal with Western," a reference to former vice president John "Stick" Freeman once having to smooth over a relationship with trucking customer Western Express by agreeing to buy a broken-down plane for the inflated price of $1 million after being caught cheating the Nashville company .

Freeman pleaded guilty in July and is expected to testify. Jurors previously heard secret recordings of Freeman boasting about how Haslam "loved it" when the sales team swindled customers.

"He knew — absolutely," Freeman said in the recording.

Pilot was founded by family patriarch Jim Haslam, a former University of Tennessee football player, with a single gas station in 1958. His other son, Bill Haslam, was president of Pilot before being elected Knoxville mayor in 2003 and later to his current position as Tennessee governor. Bill Haslam has denied any knowledge of the scheme.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News, AP Sports - NFL
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
List of men in media accused of sexual misconduct
List of men in media accused of sexual misconduct
2:26PM ( 9 minutes ago )
USC can't allow Love to mimic McCaffrey in Pac-12 title game
USC can't allow latest Heisman candidate Bryce Love to mimic Stanford's Christian McCaffrey in 2015 Pac-12 title game
2:22PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Conyers' family rallies behind him amid harassment claims
Members of U.S. Rep. John Conyers' family rallied in support of the 88-year-old lawmaker who is facing calls for his resignation after sexual harassment allegations by several former staffers
2:19PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Testimony: Feds targeted Jimmy Haslam in phone call
Federal agents used a Pilot Flying J employee to try to get Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam to make incriminating comments on the telephone, but court testimony suggests Haslam was aware he was making the call at their behest
2:02PM ( 34 minutes ago )
No. 6 Georgia needs to be more physical vs No. 4 Auburn
No. 6 Georgia must show dramatic improvement in key areas in perhaps the biggest do-over in school history against No. 4 Auburn
1:28PM ( 1 hour ago )
Harvard, Yale to play The Game at Fenway Park next year
Harvard-Yale, one of college football's oldest rivalries, will be visiting major league baseball's oldest ballpark at Fenway
11:55AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
Eli Manning benched by Giants, ends starting streak
Eli Manning benched by Giants for Geno Smith against Oakland; ends streak of 210 consecutive starts in regular-season
8:11AM ( 6 hours ago )
10 Things to Know for Today
Among 10 Things to Know: North Korea fires ICBM it says is 'significantly more' powerful; NBC News fires 'Today' show host Matt Lauer for 'inappropriate sexual behavior'; Facing tax vote in Senate, Trump seizes on cultural fights
7:40AM ( 6 hours ago )
Manning benching low point of a year the Giants went south
The benching of Eli Manning for the first time in 13 seasons is probably the low point of a season in which the New York Giants did almost nothing right
1:50AM ( 12 hours ago )
AP Online Football
The Latest: Deborah Norville expresses shock at Lauer firing
The Latest: Former 'Today' host Deborah Norville expresses shock at Matt Lauer's firing over sexual misconduct allegations
1:31PM ( 1 hour ago )
Senate poised for test vote on tax overhaul
The Senate's top Republican says the chamber will cast a key test vote Wednesday on the party's long-awaited tax overhaul
1:28PM ( 1 hour ago )
Trump stumps for tax bill with populist pitch in Missouri
President Donald Trump is making a public show of trying to win over Democratic votes for the Republican tax cut package, even as GOP officials have written that off as an unlikely outcome
1:25PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Chipotle, looking for a turnaround, shops for new CEO
Chipotle looks for a new CEO to help turn the chain around, after struggling to recover from food safety scares
12:19PM ( 2 hours ago )
SUVs are main attraction at L.A. Auto Show
SUVs, from rough-and-tumble Jeep Wrangler to stretch Lexus, are the main attraction at L.A. Auto Show
10:22AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP EXCLUSIVE: A contractor fails to deliver Puerto Rico aid
AP EXCLUSIVE: Puerto Ricans were supposed to have a lot more tarps and patches for their hurricane-battered homes by now, but a US contractor didn't deliver
3:15AM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
Flacco protects ball, Ravens use takeaways to beat Texans
Joe Flacco doesn't mind putting up mediocre numbers and looking rather ordinary, as long as he can keep doing it right into the NFL playoffs
2:09AM ( 1 day ago )
Suggs, Ravens get defensive in 23-16 win over Texans
Suggs, Ravens defense shut down Texans late, offense gets creative in 23-16 win
12:49AM ( 1 day ago )
Talib, Crabtree suspended 2 games each for fighting
Oakland receiver Michael Crabtree and Denver cornerback Aqib Talib have been suspended two games each without pay for fighting
11:16PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Sports - NFL
List of men in media accused of sexual misconduct
List of men in media accused of sexual misconduct
2:26PM ( 10 minutes ago )
USC can't allow Love to mimic McCaffrey in Pac-12 title game
USC can't allow latest Heisman candidate Bryce Love to mimic Stanford's Christian McCaffrey in 2015 Pac-12 title game
2:22PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Conyers' family rallies behind him amid harassment claims
Members of U.S. Rep. John Conyers' family rallied in support of the 88-year-old lawmaker who is facing calls for his resignation after sexual harassment allegations by several former staffers
2:19PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Facing pressure, House nears OK of anti-harassment training
The House is moving toward easy approval of a bipartisan measure requiring lawmakers and aides to take annual anti-harassment training
2:18PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Belmiro de Azevedo, top Portuguese entrepreneur, dies at 79
Belmiro de Azevedo, one of Portugal's most successful entrepreneurs who built his company Sonae into an international conglomerate, has died
2:05PM ( 31 minutes ago )