Share
November 6, 2017 10:15 AM, EST
The 18 Former Employees Charged in the Pilot Flying J Federal Investigation
bintibee/Flickr

Eighteen former employees have been charged in the federal investigation of Pilot Flying J, the family business of Jimmy Haslam. Fourteen have pleaded guilty but have not been sentenced, as authorities are waiting until after the trial is scheduled to begin.

RELATED: Jurors in Pilot Flying J criminal trial to hear how sales team veered into corruption

RELATED: Jimmy Haslam fights deposition order in Pilot Flying J case

Many are cooperating with prosecutors, which may have an impact on the severity of their sentences. Prosecutors said many in the scheme benefited financially because they were compensated based on the company’s net revenues. Some of the plea agreements detailed the monetary loss to customers. Many did not. This is a list of who they are and what they were accused of doing:

Mark Hazelwood

Job: President

Allegations: Hazelwood was the highest ranking member of Pilot Flying J to be charged in the scheme. He worked at the company from 1988, until he was fired in May 2014. An indictment filed in February 2016 said Hazelwood encouraged employee participation in the scheme. He denies the allegations.

Status of the case: He is scheduled to go trial Oct. 31 on charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, as well as wire fraud and witness tampering.

Scott Wombold

Job: Vice president of sales

Allegations: Wombold supervised a number of employees involved in the scheme. As a supervisor, he could earn commissions off his employees’ accounts. During a sales team meeting in November 2012, he explained the scheme and encouraged staff to take part. The indictment said he lied to federal agents who questioned him about that sales meeting, saying the scheme was never discussed. He also told agents that he was not aware of an attempt to defraud trucking companies. He denies the allegations.

Status of the case: He is scheduled to go to trial Oct. 31 on charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, wire fraud and false statements.

John Freeman

Job: Vice president of sales

Allegations: Freeman supervised the marketing and sales of diesel fuel to interstate trucking companies. He helped orchestrate the scheme and often recruited sales staff to join in the scheme. He also led group meetings on how to run the fraud and get away with it. If trucking companies caught discrepancies, he told staff, he and others would claim it was a simple mistake. Prosecutors, in a plea agreement, said he defrauded as much as $9.5 million from trucking companies.

Status of the case: He pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 24.

Brian Mosher

Job: National director of sales; also had worked as regional sales manager

Allegations: Mosher was responsible for defrauding between 50 and 250 customers out of rebates, according to prosecutors, who made the claim in his plea agreement for sentencing purposes. The plea agreement puts the loss that he is responsible for at between $7 million and $20 million. He urged the sales staff to target unsophisticated trucking companies.

Status of case: He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud in January 2014.

Christopher Andrews

Job: Regional sales manager

Allegations: He told investigators that the scheme “had gone on for quite some time prior to his employment [in 2010], based on how openly it was discussed,” according to his plea agreement. He refused to mention the scheme in emails at work because he knew it was “shady,” the plea agreement said. In one instance, a trucking company recognized that it had been shorted on its rebate. Andrews told the company that it was an inadvertent error, but he actually knew he had been caught, the plea agreement said.

Status of case: He pleaded guilty to conspiracy in January 2014.

James Stinnett

Job: Regional sales manager, later promoted to assist senior management

Allegations: Prosecutors said Stinnett bilked unsuspecting trucking companies from 2008 through 2011 as a regional sales manager in the Southeast. On April 15, 2013, when authorities raided the offices of Pilot Flying J, Stinnett told investigators that he knew his actions were dishonest, that he did them out of loyalty to the company and that senior management of the company knew about the scheme.

Status of case: He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud in June 2013.

Arnold Ralenkotter

Job: Regional sales director

Allegations: He played a key role in defrauding customers for years. He had been in the company’s sales division for 10 years. He once bragged to fellow employees about how he lied to a trucking company that was thinking of dropping Pilot Flying J as its fuel choice. Ralenkotter told the company that he was prepared to offer a much better deal to keep the customer. The plea agreement said Ralenkotter knew he would never give the customer such a great deal.

Status of case: He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud in May 2013, about a month after the raid at Pilot Flying J.

Scott Fenwick

Job: Regional sales manager

Allegations: Fenwick took part in the scheme for about five years. He told an account representative how much to defraud certain trucking companies on a monthly basis, and the account representative would then send reduced checks to the businesses. On Nov. 19, 2012, Fenwick told a group of Pilot Flying J sales officials that if he ever got caught cheating by a customer, he would blame it on sales staff or a computer glitch.

Status of case: He pleaded guilty conspiracy in July 2013.

Kevin Clark

Job: Regional sales manager

Allegations: Prosecutors said Clark agreed to work on the rebate scheme with others at the company for years. He would fraudulently reduce the customers’ negotiated fuel discounts by 2 to 3 cents a gallon each month. He admitted to a co-worker in November 2012 that he defrauded customers, including three trucking companies in the Great Plains region.

Status of case: He pleaded guilty to conspiracy in June 2013.

John Spiewak

Job: Regional sales manager

Allegations: Spiewak, of Dayton, took part in the scheme to fleece trucking companies in Ohio and Indiana, according to his plea agreement with prosecutors. He was supervised by Ralenkotter and worked directly with Welch, both of whom pleaded guilty to charges.

Status of case: He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud in September 2017. He is to be sentenced Jan. 24.

Vicki Borden

Job: Director, sales division

Allegations: Borden oversaw the work of the account representatives and dealt with top executives of the sales team. Prosecutors, in her plea agreement, said she knowingly and voluntarily joined the conspiracy to defraud trucking companies. For sentencing purposes, prosecutors set the amount of loss to trucking companies between $1.5 million and $3.5 million, and the number of victims defraud exceeds 10.

Status of case: She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud in September 2017. She is to be sentenced Jan. 24.

Janet Welch

Job: Senior regional account representative

Allegations: Welch worked at Pilot Flying J since 1998. She took part in the scheme since 2008, according to her plea agreement with prosecutors. She sent “numerous deceptively reduced” rebate checks to a trucking company in New Jersey. She, like others, participated in a sales staff session in 2012 on how to fleece customers. Prosecutors set the level of loss attributed to Welch at between $400,000 and $1 million. They said she defrauded between 10 and 50 customers.

Status of case: She pleaded guilty to conspiracy in July 2013.

Holly Radford

Job: Regional account representative

Allegations: Prosecutors said Radford took part in the scheme by agreeing to deceptively reduce the monthly rebates of trucking companies, based on instructions from salespeople. She worked with James Stinnett, according to her plea agreement. When she spoke with federal agents on the day of the raids, she admitted that she knew what she was doing was wrong but that she kept doing it, as she was instructed and taught. For sentencing purposes, prosecutors said she was responsible for a loss of between $200,000 and $400,000.

Status of case: She pleaded guilty to conspiracy in June 2013.

Lexie Holden

Job: Account representative for Brian Mosher and others

Allegations: Prosecutors said Holden actively took part in the scheme, helping to fleece between 10 and 50 customers. For sentencing purposes, they said she helped defraud between $400,000 and $1 million from trucking companies. She attended a sales staff seminar where Mosher taught the staff how to bilk companies. She met with federal agents and cooperated soon after the raids.

Status of case: She pleaded guilty to conspiracy in January 2014.

Ashley Judd

Job: Regional account representative

Allegations: Judd worked with sales staff to carry out the scheme, “albeit with reluctance,” prosecutors said in her plea agreement. Judd had worked at Pilot Flying J as an intern in high school and college. Prosecutors said Judd caused $200,000 in losses to customers. On the day of the raids, Judd told federal agents about her handwritten spreadsheets that indicated what trucking companies received and what they were supposed to receive in rebates, according to her plea agreement. The document added that there was a “culture of fraud-acceptance within Pilot’s sales division.”

Status of case: She pleaded guilty to conspiracy in May 2013.

Katy Bibee

Job: Regional account representative

Allegations: Bibee worked closely with John Freeman and Christopher Andrews, both of whom pleaded guilty to defrauding trucking companies. In a plea agreement, prosecutors said, “With the encouragement of her superiors, Bibee knowingly and voluntarily joined and participated in the conspiracy with the specific intent to defraud.” For sentencing purposes, prosecutors said the amount of loss to trucking companies is not more than $1 million.

Status of case: She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud in September 2017. She is to be sentenced Jan. 24.

Karen Mann

Job: Regional account representative.

Allegations: Mann worked closely with Arnold Ralenkotter on accounts. Ralenkotter was one of the first to plead guilty. She is accused of working with top sales officials to defraud trucking companies. She denies the charges.

Status of case: She is going to trial Oct. 31 in Chattanooga on charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

Heather Jones

Job: Regional account representative.

Allegations: Jones worked closely with Brian Mosher on accounts. Mosher has pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges. She denies the allegations.

Status of case: Jones is going to trial Oct. 31 on charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

Sources: Court records; including indictments; plea agreements and filings in U.S. District Court in Knoxville, Tenn. and Chattanooga, Tenn..

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC