4 ex-employees accused in Pilot rebate scam reach plea deal

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Four former employees accused in a diesel fuel rebate scam at the nation's largest truck stop chain have struck a plea deal and agreed to cooperate with federal authorities.

Pilot Flying J is run by Jimmy Haslam, owner of the Cleveland Browns and brother of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who also has a stake in the company. Both have said they had no knowledge of the scheme, which led to criminal charges against company executives and tens of millions in settlements and penalties.

The company says it has worked to ensure nothing like this happens again.

Ten former employees have pleaded guilty. Four others are going to trial.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel reports John ''Stick'' Freeman, dubbed in court documents as the architect of the scheme, is among those reaching an agreement.

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Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com

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