Former Pilot Flying J Exec Looks to Toss Statements to Feds

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Former Pilot Flying J Exec Looks to Toss Statements to Feds


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A former vice president of Pilot Flying J has asked a judge to throw out statements he made to federal agents during an investigation into the company's fuel rebate program.

In a court filing on Feb. 8, Scott "Scooter" Wombold contends he was not informed of his right to remain silent when federal agents questioned him during the April 2013 federal raid on Pilot Flying J's headquarters in Knoxville. According to the filing, Wombold was also not allowed to answer phone calls from his wife or Mark Hazelwood, who was serving as the company's president, The Associated Press reported.

Wombold held the title of vice president of national accounts at the time of the raid by the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service, which was trigged by allegations of fraud in the diesel fuel rebate program.

According to the AP, a similar motion was filed on behalf of defendant Heather Jones, a former account representative, who said her interrogators said she should have known why she was being questioned and that she and her colleagues "were all bad."

Wombold, Hazelwood and Jones are among eight former and current Pilot Flying J employees who are scheduled to face trial on Oct. 24. A federal grand jury indicted them for their alleged roles in a diesel rebate scheme that authorities claim illegally benefited Pilot Flying J’s bottom line, while also padding the pockets of each of the accused employees, as CSNews Online previously reported.

The other defendants are John "Stick" Freeman, former vice president of sales; account representative Katy Bibee; Vicki Borden, director of wholesale and inside sales; Karen Mann, regional account representative; and John Spiewa, regional sales manager in Ohio.

All of the defendants have pleaded not guilty in the case. An additional 10 employees have pleaded guilty to mail fraud and wire fraud in U.S. District Court in Knoxville.

Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged. Pilot Flying J already reached an $85-million civil settlement with dozens of trucking companies. The retailer also agreed to cooperate with the ongoing criminal investigation and pay a $92-million penalty.

Pilot Flying J operates more than 650 travel centers in North America.