Prosecutors anticipate charging 25 more persons in Pilot Flying J criminal conspiracy
Prosecutors anticipate charging 25 more persons in the Pilot Flying J criminal conspiracy. It will follow sentencing starting Aug. 22nd of 17 guilty defendants. They were all former employees at Pilot.
Prosecutors admitted Wednesday in court filings why their star witness, John "Sticks" Freeman, an FBI informant, never testified in the first Pilot trial.
"Sticks" named other people on wiretaps who can still be charged, according to Prosecutor David Lewen.
Freeman reported directly to Pilot's CEO Jimmy Haslam. "Sticks" used to be Pilot's V.P. of Sales.
Haslam owns the Cleveland Browns, a professional football team in the National Football League (NFL).
According to a court supervised report written by Kraft CPAs, 42 staffers and key executives of Pilot Flying J's Sales Division were involved in stealing $134 million from Pilot's customers over an eight-year period.
That means there is at least 25 more persons subject to prosecution in the Pilot's criminal conspiracy.
The Judge issued an order to suppress some of Stick's testimony from public view until the first gang of 17 have been sentenced and charges filed against other co-conspirators.
If time had expired prior to filing new charges against other unnamed co-conspirators, Prosecutors would have never asked that certain key evidence be temporarily suppressed. And the Judge would have denied the motion to "seal" or hide evidence until needed for new trials.
Prosecutors are given more time to press charges in a conspiracy case because they are more difficult to prove.
They already have an advantage. Prosecutors have already proved a fraud conspiracy existed at Pilot in the Mark Hazelwood trial.
Hazelwood was found guilty in February and is facing 20 years in prison. He was the right-hand man to Pilot's CEO, Jimmy Haslam. Hazelwood will be sentenced Aug. 22nd.
The Judge's sentencing schedule for the 17 guilty parties is linked here:
Pilot Flying J admitted stealing $56 million from its customers because they overcharged them for their fuel using phony documents.
Pilot's admission of guilt is in the 41-page "Criminal Enforcement Agreement" with the Justice Department. It is linked here:
Haslam has repeatedly said he is "unaware of any wrongdoing". A court document image at the top of this post proves otherwise.
Jimmy's signature on the "Criminal Enforcement Agreement" means Haslam knew Pilot stole $56 million from its customers. Also, as part of a plea deal for his company, Haslam agreed to pay a $92 million non-deductible Treasury Department fine.
In anticipation of charges against Jimmy, Dee Haslam has been running the Browns.
Pilot's corporate attorneys, Neal and Harwell, anticipate Jimmy will be charged too. They paid for the Kraft CPAs report and know its details.
Haslam was never granted immunity.
Pilot, the corporation, copped a plea. In exchange, the Justice Department agreed to stop prosecuting Pilot for other past crimes.
When will Jimmy be charged?
Prosecutors have no reason to hurry. The Judge's sentencing schedule of the first 17 guilty former Pilot employees extends through the end of the year.
Prosecutors have four years and eight months to bring new charges against other co-conspirators.
Jimmy stood the most to gain from the Pilot rebate scam.
And the most to lose.
Pilot's value has tanked 40 per cent since the FBI and IRS raided Pilot with 200 agents on April 15th, 2013.
Haslam still owns the Cleveland Browns, a professional football team in the National Football League (NFL). They have tanked too, winning only one game in two years.
On July 19th, the official court record above of the Hazelwood case shows the order of "Sealed Document"
Prosecutors David Lewen (left) and Trey Hamilton.