Federal Prosecutors Seek to Dismiss Charges Against Pilot Flying J Executives

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Citing restricted authorities sources and witness credibility issues, federal prosecutors have requested a federal choose to dismiss prison costs towards former Pilot Flying J President Mark Hazelwood and two different former firm executives, all of whom had been scheduled to be retried early subsequent 12 months on costs associated to an enormous diesel gasoline rebate scheme.

Hazelwood, former Pilot Vice President Scott Wombold and former Pilot account consultant Heather Jones were convicted by a Tennessee jury in 2018 in reference to a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme to siphon gasoline rebates away from 1000’s of truckers.

However a federal appellate court in October overturned the convictions on the grounds {that a} decrease federal courtroom permitted use of proof that ought to not have been admitted.

Mark Hazelwood

Former Pilot Flying J President Mark Hazelwood proven together with his spouse, Joanne, in September 2018. (Caitie McMekin/Knoxville Information Sentinel)

Of their July 27 movement to dismiss the 8-year-old case, prosecutors mentioned, “The federal government has decided {that a} retrial on this case would require the testimony of cooperator whose private circumstances trigger the federal government to conclude that it could be inappropriate to compel her testimony, and, in any occasion, forestall the federal government from being assured within the reliability of that witness’ recollection of serious details and circumstances.”

“The federal government seeks this go away in good religion, that’s with no intention of participating in a ‘prosecutorial harassment’ scheme via a sample of dismissal and recharging,” the movement mentioned. “In that vein, the federal government consents to dismissal with prejudice.”

Senior U.S. District Court docket Choose Curtis Collier of Chattanooga should approve the dismissal for it to develop into efficient.

Since October, attorneys for the executives and federal prosecutors have been sparring through courtroom paperwork over the proof and the influence of the appellate courtroom overturning the case.

In reversing the convictions final 12 months, the U.S. sixth Circuit Court docket of Appeals remanded the case to the district courtroom for a brand new trial. In Could, attorneys for the three executives requested a Chattanooga, Tenn. federal choose for a change of venue to another state for that deliberate retrial. With the prosecutors’ request for dismissal, that retrial is now shelved.

The appeals courtroom mentioned the federal district courtroom wrongly admitted recordings of Hazelwood utilizing “deeply offensive racist and misogynistic language” on the speculation that if Hazelwood was “reckless sufficient to make use of language that would danger public outrage towards the corporate, he was a ‘dangerous businessman,’ and as a nasty businessman, he was additionally reckless sufficient to commit fraud.”

In a associated affidavit additionally filed in Could, Hazelwood requested Collier to recuse himself from the retrial, saying his actions in the course of the trial had been biased and that permitting the recordings to be heard by the jury confirmed that “an inexpensive individual, if conscious of all of the related circumstances, would possibly query the courtroom’s impartiality.”

Scott Wombold and Heather Jones


The case towards the three executives and others started with a raid on Pilot’s headquarters in Knoxville, Tenn. Greater than 50 FBI and IRS brokers poured into the corporate’s three-story places of work on the afternoon of April 15, 2013.

Previous to Hazelwood’s trial, 14 former Pilot gross sales executives had been charged, pleaded responsible and agreed to cooperate with the federal government whereas awaiting sentencing. Hazelwood originally was sentenced to 12½ years in jail and fined $750,000.

Pilot already has paid the federal government a $92 million penalty to take accountability for the prison actions of the workers concerned, however the settlement didn’t preclude particular person prosecutions.

In November 2013, a federal choose in Arkansas approved an $84.9 million settlement offer from Pilot to reimburse as many as 5,500 prospects included in a class-action lawsuit towards the corporate.

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https://www.ttnews.com/articles/federal-prosecutors-seek-dismiss-charges-against-pilot-flying-j-executives | Federal Prosecutors Search to Dismiss Expenses Towards Pilot Flying J Executives


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