Former Pilot Flying J President Mark Hazelwood has been sentenced to 12 ½ years in prison for his role in the infamous fuel rebate scam. According to the judge presiding over the case, Hazelwood “violated the law on a constant and repeated basis for half a decade.”
Hazelwood was the President of PFJ at a time that the sales team was running a “cost-plus” fuel rebate scam on trucking companies. They defrauded companies out of millions of dollars in rebates that they were supposed to pay out. Instead, they shorted companies by sometimes just fractions of a penny on the gallon. But over time, that added up to tens of millions of dollars.
“The motive was hubris – his competitiveness … his desire to capture more market share for Pilot,” said Senior U.S. District Judge Curtis Collier.
Since Hazelwood had a profit-sharing agreement with PFJ, more market share for Pilot meant more money for him. Some years he made as much as $15 million or more from PFJ. Even once Hazelwood was fired for wrongdoing a year after the FBI raided the company’s headquarters, he received $40 million settlement check from the company.
Hazelwood was the highest up executive charged at the company. CEO Jimmy Haslam, brother of Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and owner of the Cleveland Browns, was not charged with a crime.
As part of the settlement, the company also agreed to pay all of his legal bills. Those bills are likely to keep adding up as Hazelwood will appeal the verdict that found him guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of wire fraud, and one count of witness tampering.
“I’m devastated I’m having to stand before you today,” Hazelwood said in a statement before sentencing. “I will be appealing my conviction. I do proclaim my innocence. We should have had policies and procedures to prevent this. We didn’t. I’m truly sorry.”
In addition, to paying out Hazelwood, Pilot Flying J has reportedly paid more than $80 million in civil settlements to companies that they defrauded, as well as a $92 million penalty to the federal government.
Hazelwood has been ordered to pay a $750,000 fine and spend 150 months in prison. He will not need to report to prison until after Thanksgiving.
Fourteen of Hazelwood’s former coworkers including sales employees and executives are still awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty.
Source: truckinginfo, overdrive, ttnews, knoxnews, wkyc, wbir, knoxnews, truckersreport
51 comments. Add a comment.
William Manley says
Just 12.5 years? They’d hang us poor folk out to dry for jaywalking.
P B says
Rich white guy in the Land of the Greed and Home of the Enslaved… surprised he got ANY prison time!!! Of course, he’ll be in one of the “country club” prisons that the rich usually go to….
Scott DeKruif says
Figures! While we bust our but, someone sops up the gravy.
Why was CEO Jimmy Haslam left off the hook, he’s the ‘culprit in chief’. This is an open secret. Is he too highly placed a person l to be charged by the judiciary. This leaves much to be answered. Shame on Judiciary.
I know it’s been a few years but I have to Leave my comment the only reason why he got out of it was because his crooked ass brother was governor of Tennessee! Where do you think The governors money came from? He sure in the world that make that much money when he was mayor of Knoxville here! I think the governor and his brother were in on it I can imagine the conversation went like this,,,,,, hey Bill Alfond you being governor heck I’ll even line your pockets up just as long as we don’t get caught when it comes up we need someone to pin it out!! OK Jimmy I’ll scratch your back you scratch mine!! I do not know for a fact that’s how the conversation went but if it had been anybody else Jimmy Haslam Would’ve never gotten away with it and the president of his company did not do this definitely not without his knowledge! He got his brother In office as governor by funding him And in return brother got him out of trouble when it got caught up with! And what really pisses me off that us good ol truck drivers got the worst end of it! Oh and one last thing when governor Bredeson was in office he voted on putting a Amazon distribution center in Chattanooga and said there wouldn’t be any taxes! First thing Bill did when he became governor was over Rode Bredesons Bill And taxed us anyways and at the time other states did not have to pay sales taxes When they ordered from Amazon but because we had a distribution center in Chattanooga we had too Bill should have been impeached And then arrested along with his crooked brother
Valri Purdy says
One of the most stupid comments I have read “we should have had policies in place to prevent this”. There are. They’re called laws!!!
The laws are different when you make 15 million dollars a year.
P B says
Laws (at least in THIS country) are written BY the rich, for the BENEFIT OF the rich!!!!
George Dixon says
What about all the independent Truckers it got screwed I used to buy my fuel exclusively from Pilot Flying J where’s my share of this money
totally agree, 80 million to the so-called victims and 92 million to the federal government for penalties but the trucker’s that payed for the fuel…..what compensation?
Cat Dog says
I dont want to offend but seems i always do when i am blunt to the point. I apologize in advance and also say that i thank you fir speaking up for “the drivers”. My advise to you and others is to stop sitting around crying “poor me”. Take initiative and get off your rump and hire an attorney to represent All who feel they deserve restitution and file a class action lawsuit. Good luck to you all and most of all , be safe.
P B says
Yeah, class action lawsuit…you got 30+ years to wait and millions of dollars for legal fees??? And what if you DON’T win????
Class action lawsuits.
It’s a smart move for Pilot to pay his legal fees and give him 40 million dollars when he leaves, he will be less likely to flip against them. If he was sentenced to 150 months he will probably do half that. So he will make over 4 million dollars a year just to keep quiet. Hopefully they really punish him and send him to one of those rich guy prisons where there is a waiting list for the tennis courts and the masseuse only comes twice a week.
The best part of all start to search everywhere in USA u will find a lot of interesting things like it …. but they will have some fine print policy))))
James Roeder says
Why those are only applicable to those silly enough not be Tyrants!
Jimmy Haslam walks free because he is footing the legal bills. How nice..!!
A $750,000 fine is a slap on the wrist compared what he walks away with. When he does leave prison, if he actually does go there, a stretch limousine will be waiting to take him home.
At least they are finally starting to give these white collar criminals rather lengthy sentences. They should be sent to the same hardcore prisons you or I would be sent to if we robbed a bank.
If he were a politician he would still be on the street today.
All these big trucking companies deserved what they got. It’s ok for them to get rebates but not the drivers pay. LET’S PARK THEM
I got a lot of fuel at Pilot, and Flying J, never got a dime from the settlement, just defrauded. The lawyers all got my share. This guy should have been found guilty also, but “He’s got friends” who can manipulate the legal system for him…”. CEO Jimmy Haslam, brother of Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and owner of the Cleveland Browns, was not charged with a crime.” Really ? Now the Governor is crooked ? No surprise there !
It doesn’t say the governor is crooked. It simply states, for the millionth time, the relationship between the CEO of PFJ and a politician, as if that were relevant or important.
Former Pilot Flying J President Mark Hazelwood has been sentenced to 12 ½ years in prison for his role in the infamous fuel rebate scam. According to the judge presiding over the case, Hazelwood “violated the law on a constant and repeated bases for half a decade.”
Groo, see my comments below. Editing has been left by the side of the road.
He will only serve 4 years at a club fed prison. And walks away with $$$$$. Pretty lucrative job he had.
$40 million settlement check. $750,000 fine. Seems legit. /s
Grim Reaper says
Since it’s taken so long to go thru these trials, alot of the understanding of just what Pilot Flying J has done to cheat the very people they are supposed to have been ‘here for.. YES! All the drivers!!’
This company is rotton all the way thru. And don’t believe for 1 minute that pay-to-park was anything other than another scam to get MORE $$$ !!
WAKE UP AMERICA
We’re awake. What’s your solution to this obvious ploy? Everyone has to park somewhere, every day. Right?
Should we all stop using PFJ and TA? They’ll be slot of semis on the side of the road with no diesel in them.
We should have had policies preventing this. Haaaaaaa.
What, would they have made you more honest?
Only sorry the CEO isn’t in there with you. Hey FBI how about explaining how he wasn’t charged with a crime. It’s common knowledge he knew about the whole thing…
12.5 years in prison is a life-changing amount of time. If your old enough when you go in, it might even be the rest of your lifetime. Your family will be broken, spouse most likely going to leave and move on. Kids & grandkids grown up. Visiting loved ones thru a glass window, or with any luck, maybe at a table with no physical contact that is supervised the whole time. Why would someone give up all that just to put a few more dollars on top of their incredibly massive stack of money they already have? People are so spoiled & greedy in this modern day, it is absolutely shocking!
P B says
He’s a rich, white Amerikan, I’ll bet after all the appeals and everything, he won’t spend a MINUTE in REAL prison, and be putting out a book about it by the end of next year!!!
Just very glad there is a large driver shortage, and it’s getting larger.
power corrupts..and absolute power
corrupts absolutely…this is why he can stand there
in the court and make such ludicrous statements…
he thinks he’s untouchable.
it’s obvious haslam is.
Why do they keep repeating “brother of Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and owner of the Cleveland Browns” as if it were relevant? If it’s unrelated to PFJ and this case, it’s IRRELEVANT and doesn’t need to be constantly repeated.
Why do they say, “as much as $15 million or more”? Was it “as much as” X amount or was it more? This may sound like being picky but the writers of these articles are supposed to be professionals. They are using the English language like a four year old would use a weedwhacker – with total disregard for its capability. The English language is a wonder and beautiful tool if used properly.
Thanks for letting me rant.
Chuck S says
Keep ranting cause your right. I hated English in school but I can see a poorly worded or grammatically incorrect statement easily. Many cultures of the world see us, the American, as dumb and lazy and I wonder if things like this fuel that perception.
Mr Coffee says
Now now fellas…. remember the Golden Rule….. the man with gold makes the rules… shameful!
P B says
Been that way in the Land of the Greed and Home of the Enslaved since 1776!!!!
Ronald Broyles says
Ole Halsam is doing the same old thing. Once a crook always a crook. Except now he is doing it with the driver’s Loyalty Cards. They are stealing those to make up for the other. He should be in jail and his brother the Govenor if he knows of this. Check around. There is no telling how much he has defrauded drivers out of. The attorneys for Hazlewood should look into this.
Standard Man says
While I am glad to see PFJ get its comeuppance I am sad to say that the FBI completely missed all the A-HOLE CEOs who caused the 2008 crash…MILLIONS lost their homes and ruined their lives and not a single one of those criminals is in jail.
I have had some run ins with former Pilot execs as a fuel hauler and now owner operator for the last 32 years in the SW area. Some of the absolute worst people I have ever met work in the fuel industry….another company that should be watched is Pro Petroleum…trust me…these are some ruthless mind numb a holes over there in my personal experience.
You fellas don’t even know the half of it. You would be surprised how many companies treat your loads like they are a broker charging broker fees to load their own company trucks.
How many percentage paid drivers are getting screwed out of their part of the fuel surcharge? To many to count.
These companies are counting on drivers being to ignorant to figure out that they are getting screwed.
I fail to see where there is a difference between John Dillanger & this guy? Stealing is stealing plain and simple! I don’t care if you’re a nobody or a Governor the punishment should be the same! Actually the punishment should be bad enough to force the criminal to come clean about the whole thing! So if we look at the math which = 12.5 yrs/ 150 mo. He will most likely serve 36 months in crime school then get released on probation, then go on to work on his next great crime!
Chuck S says
Did anyone else catch that the government got a bigger fine from PFJ than the settlements equaled? I mean 80 million in settlements to those defruaded and that doesn’t include those that will never be paid and 92 million to the FBI, whats that, a finders fee?
Lane Baumgardner says
Shoot for 12 million dollars, heck for that matter, for just 1 million dollars I’d do a 150 month sentence. Would be paroled in just a few years, so like 50 months in prison, millions in the bank, not too much to ummm, argue.
This is a perfect pardon candidate the con in chief. Keep driving while they laugh all they way to the bank.
phantom 308 says
On a constant bases?
I’m curious if they covered what happened with all those pilot member card points that vanish like a fart in the wind, have y’all ever accumulated a bunch of points, went on vacation and loose several hundred points… where’s that all go??
I have a difficult time getting my head around all the corruption out here.
All the lost money… it goes somewhere right
P B says
Must not be from Amerika, Amerikans get used to this by the time they reach adulthood…
Why has no one realized the trucking companies have been involved in this rebate fraud to their customers yet?In return they are costing every consumer in the country higher grocery prices