A timeline of the Pilot Flying J investigation
A timeline of events in the federal investigation into 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: 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 a meeting held at the Rockwood, 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 that 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: The FBI's confidential source returns from a two-week vacation to find the company has launched an internal audit of the manual rebate process used to defraud customers, stirring concerns among the Pilot sales staff.
- April 15, 2013: Federal agents raid Pilot's headquarters in Knoxville and the 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 the suspension of several members of sales team, but does not identify them.
- May 29, 2013: The first two members of the Pilot sales team plead guilty and 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 members of the Pilot sales team plead guilty.
- July 12, 2013: Pilot begins sending checks to trucking company customers shorted on rebates.
- July 29, 2013: Two more members of the Pilot sales team plead guilty.
- Jan 27, 2014: Three more Pilot employees plead guilty to federal charges, bringing the total to 10.
- May 19, 2014: Pilot President Mark Hazelwood and Vice President Scott ''Scooter'' Wombold leave the company.
- May 20, 2104: Pilot terminates three sales executives and places two sales representatives on administrative leave.