More Guilty Pleas Entered in Pilot Flying J Case
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Three former Pilot Flying J executives today entered the third, fourth and fifth guilty pleas in connection with allegations of fraud in the locally based company's fuel rebate program.
Kevin Clark, Jay Stinnett and Holly Radford pleaded guilty to charges of mail fraud and conspiracy in federal court, according to various media reports. The pleas are in exchange for providing information in the case, according to WATE.com, the ABC News affiliate in Knoxville.
Radford, a regional sales manager, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud. She said she was responsible for deceiving 10 to 50 customers out of between $200,000 and $400,000.
Stinnett, also a Pilot Flying J regional sales manager, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud. The Pilot employee since 1995 admitted to deceptively reducing rebate amounts by targeting customers he thought were "unlikely to catch" the scheme, according to the news outlet.
Stinnett also admitted to directing Pilot regional account representatives to reduce rebates by an amount he would e-mail to them. Some Pilot employees were taught about the manual rebate processes in sales meetings, according to Stinnett.
He said he lied when a North Carolina trucking company confronted him about its rebates, telling them the rebate amount was correct. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Clark, a regional sales manager based in Missouri, admitted to directing another employee to fraudulently reduce rebate amounts for trucking firms under contract with Pilot Flying J. He faces a maximum of five years in prison for his involvement in the alleged scheme. That sentence could be reduced in exchange for his testimony as the investigation continues, the news report stated.
These pleas come three weeks after Regional Sales Director Arnold Ralenkotter pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud, while Regional Accounts Representative Ashley Smith Judd pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, as CSNews Online previously reported.
A two-year investigation by the FBI and the IRS Criminal Investigation Division into the alleged fraud resulted in an April 15 raid of Pilot Flying J's headquarters. CEO Jimmy Haslam has denied any knowledge of the fraud and said the company is cooperating with officials.
Pilot Flying J operates more than 650 retail locations and is the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas in North America.