KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- As of Dec. 31, 2013, Pilot Flying J Inc. has paid back the "vast majority," approximately 95%, of its customers and any potential discrepancy found by internal auditors plus 6% interest, the truckstop company said in an update that it provided to its customers and team members on its plan and progress regarding the federal diesel fuel rebate investigation and class-action settlement.
Since the FBI and IRS raided Pilot Flying J headquarters in Knoxville, Tenn., on April 15 to investigate the alleged scheme to cheat trucking companies out of rebates for diesel fuel purchased at the chain's more than 650 truckstops, seven Pilot Flying J employees have pleaded guilty in federal court to fraud-related crimes and nearly 30 trucking companies have filed lawsuits. At least 11 former employees already are cooperating with the FBI and offering evidence. Seven of them have entered guilty pleas to fraud charges, and four have obtained immunity from prosecution in return for their cooperation.
Earlier this week, a federal judge dismissed racketeering and deceptive trade practices charges in a civil suit brought by trucking firm Wright Transportation, Mobile, Ala. Last week, Nashville, Tenn., trucking firm Western Express Inc. settled its lawsuit.
The update, posted on Pilot Flying J's "Rebate Education" website, added:
Our internal auditors continue to work hard to evaluate and re-evaluate our customer accounts. Pilot Flying J is committed to providing its customers with access to their audit results, to answer their questions and help ensure our customers feel comfortable with Pilot Flying J's audit and repayment. We anticipate this process will continue for several more months.
Our customers now have the option to have a third-party independent auditor review their records, at no cost to the customer.
Pilot Flying J continues to work with its external Compliance Advisory Committee. The committee has met with many of our managers and employees, and continues to review our company policies, procedures and processes. We hope to have recommendations from the Compliance Advisory by the end of the first quarter with full implementations by the middle of 2014.
Pilot Flying J continues to cooperate with the Independent Special Investigator.
Pilot Flying J wants to thank its customers for their continued support and loyalty.
Pilot Flying J has more than 650 retail locations and is the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas in North America. Its network provides customers with access to more than 60,000 parking spaces for trucks, more than 4,400 showers and more than 4,000 diesel lanes, of which more than 2,800 offer diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) at the pump.