Today’s Pickup: 4 former Pilot Flying J execs enter guilty pleas in diesel rebate fraud

Four former Pilot Flying J executives entered guilty please in court Thursday related to the company’s fuel rebate fraud. ( Photo: Shutterstock )

Good day,

Four more former Pilot Flying J executives formally pleaded guilty to charges related to the company’s alleged defrauding of carriers.

John Freeman, Pilot’s former vice president of sales; John Spiewak, a regional sales manager based in Centerville, OH; Vicki Borden, former director of inside sales; and Katy Bibee, a regional sales representative pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges of mail fraud and wire fraud for scamming customers out of diesel rebates.

Federal prosecutors said that Spiewak approved the rebate contracts while Borden maintained two sets of books to monitor profits of the fraud. Bibee negotiated bogus rebates, prosecutors said

Prosecutors allege that Freeman created the fraud with the knowledge and blessing of former Pilot president Mark Hazelwood. Hazelwood as well as Scott Wombold, former vice president of national sales, and Heather Jones, a former regional sales representative, are scheduled for trial in October in Chattanooga, TN.

The four who entered guilty pleas yesterday could be called to testify at the trial, as could ten other ex-employees who have already struck plea deals.  

Did you know?

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, video-based safety monitoring systems on board tractor-trailers could prevent up to 63,000 crashes, 17,733 injuries and 293 deaths per year.


“There’s no question that truck safety technology saves lives. This new research shows that the benefits of adding many of these technologies to trucks clearly outweigh the cost.”

David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

In other news:

Whole Foods revamping supply chain

Changes under Amazon are already altering the way Whole Foods’s supply chain operates, including the elimination of “brand advocates” in stores. (Wall Street Journal)

Electric drive axle maker secures funding

Hyliion has secured $21 million in funding to expand its production capabilities for its retrofitted electric drive axle for trailers. (NGT News)

Truckers for Humanity to raise money for Hurricane Irma recovery

A group of musician truckers will host a live concert on Sept. 23 beginning at 3 p.m. to raise money for Hurricane Irma relief efforts. The concert will be shown on the Truckers for Humanity Facebook page. (Truckers News)

Port of Virginia seeks to expand

The Port of Virginia is looking at expanding its channel to create a wider and deeper port than the Port of Los Angeles, potentially leading to an increase in container ships arriving. (The Virginian Pilot)

Advanced safety tech could eliminate up to 63,000 truck-related crashes

A new AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study has found that equipping large trucks with video-based safety technology could prevent up to 63,000 truck-related crashes each year. (Transport Topics)

Final Thoughts

Four former Pilot Flying J executives formally pleaded guilty in court Thursday to mail fraud charges related to a diesel fuel rebate scam that cheated hundreds of trucking companies out of millions of dollars. That brings to 14 the total number of people who have pleaded guilty so far. Three more, including former Pilot president Mark Hazelwood, await trial.

Hammer down everyone!

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and fleetowner.com. Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.