A timeline of events in the federal investigation into alleged rebate fraud at the Pilot Flying J truck-stop chain owned by the family of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and his brother, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam:
— May 4, 2011: An informant contacts the FBI about a regional sales manager’s statement that Pilot is cheating customers out of contractually set rebates.
— Aug. 2, 2012: Jimmy Haslam buys the Cleveland Browns for $1 billion.
—Sept. 11, 2012: Jimmy Haslam steps down as CEO of Pilot Flying J to concentrate on rebuilding the NFL franchise. He remains board chairman.
— Oct, 4, 2012: A Pilot regional sales manager agrees to cooperate with FBI investigators and record conversations with colleagues.
— Oct. 25, 2012: The confidential source records meeting at Tennessee lake house of John “Stick” Freeman, Pilot’s vice president of sales. Freeman recounts getting caught withholding rebate money from a customer and brags he had to pay back $1 million but still came out $6 million ahead. Asked about Jimmy Haslam’s reaction, Freeman is recorded as saying: “He knew it all along. Loved it.”
— Feb. 11, 2013: Haslam announces he will reassume his position as CEO of Pilot.
— April 1, 2013: An internal company audit of the manual rebate process used to defraud customers has been launched, stirring concerns among Pilot sales staff.
— April 15, 2013: Federal agents raid Pilot’s Knoxville, Tennessee, headquarters and homes of three sales executives in Iowa, Kentucky and Tennessee.
— April 18, 2013: A judge unseals a 120-page FBI affidavit that includes allegations that Jimmy Haslam and other senior managers were aware of the rebate fraud scheme. Haslam denies wrongdoing.
— April 22, 2013: Jimmy Haslam announces suspension of several members of sales team.
— May 29, 2013: First two members of the Pilot sales team plead guilty, agree to cooperate with federal prosecutors.
— July 16, 2013: Pilot settles a class action lawsuit filed by trucking companies, eventually agreeing to pay out $85 million to 5,500 customers.
— June 18, 2013: Three more Pilot sales team members plead guilty.
— July 12, 2013: Pilot begins reimbursing trucking company customers shorted on rebates.
— July 29, 2013: Two more members of Pilot sales team plead guilty.
— Jan 27, 2014: Three more Pilot employees plead guilty to federal charges, bringing total to 10.
— May 19, 2014: Pilot President Mark Hazelwood and Vice President Scott “Scooter” Wombold leave company.
— May 20, 2014: Pilot terminates three sales executives and places two sales representatives on administrative leave.
— July 14, 2014: Pilot agrees to pay $92 million in fines for cheating customers out of promised rebates and discounts. Under agreement with U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Pilot accepts responsibility for criminal conduct of its employees. Government agrees not to prosecute company as long as Pilot meets certain conditions, including cooperating with investigation of employees.
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