After over a year in federal court, Pilot Flying J has agreed to a $92 million settlement to avoid criminal fraud charges. The current settlement is in addition to the $85 million previously paid by Pilot Flying J when settling the civil suit brought against them by trucking companies. Though Pilot Flying J is paying for the damages, trucking companies throughout the US were subject to the scam and it will be difficult to fully compensate everybody who was cheated.
Investigations began in April of last year when the FBI and IRS raided the Pilot Flying J corporate headquarters on suspicion of a fuel rebate scam. Since then, 10 of the company’s employees have plead guilty to the allegations.
The settlements do not prevent any individuals or corporations affected by the fuel rebate scam from taking further legal action. Though the $92 million may seem like a lot of money, it is significantly less than original estimates and could prompt others to go after the PFJ Corporation which did around $30 billion in sales last year.
The question remains whether the scam was conceived and organized purely by individual PFJ employees, or whether corporate administrators and CEO Jimmy Haslam had any knowledge of the scam before the federal investigation began. Haslam continues to deny any previous knowledge of the scheme and insists that PFJ has always had their customer’s best interests in mind and will continue to do so. The PFJ CEO and new owner of the Cleveland Browns hopes that the recent $92 million dollar settlement will save his company from further indictment and help to restore its reputation with its customers.
The PFJ Corporation continues to operate over 650 travel stops and convenience stores in the US and Canada, providing over 25,000 jobs, making it one of the country’s largest private employers.
The full extent of the fuel rebate scheme remains to be uncovered and it is doubtful that the recent settlement will mean the end of criminal charges for the PFJ Corporation or its employees.