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Members of Pilot Flying J sales staff placed on leave

Published On: Apr 22 2013 05:16:21 PM CDT
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -

Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam outlined a plan this afternoon to deal with allegations of rebate fraud at the family-owned truck stop company.

The FBI and IRS raided the Knoxville-based headquarters a week ago.

Haslam said during a news conference Monday afternoon that his plan includes an internal investigation by the company's entire audit team.

He also said that several members of his direct sales team have been placed on administrative leave.

"This is not an easy thing to do because, let me say this, I am not presuming these people are guilty or not guilty, what I do think is they are guilty of violating how Pilot Flying J team members are supposed to act," said Jimmy Haslam.

Haslam said he is embarrassed by information that was revealed in an affidavit that was unsealed on Thursday.

The affidavit included transcripts of recorded conversations with Pilot Flying J top sales executives who are quoted using expletives and discussing deliberately shorting trucking companies money that was owed to them.

"It was painful because that's not how we do things around here," said Haslam.  "We have respect for people, we have the utmost respect for our customers, and we don't talk in that kind of language."

Haslam told reporters about his conversation with one of the alleged victims.

"We had what I would describe, it was not cordial, I won't say that, but a very professional conversation.  And he said, 'I just want you to pay me my damn money, if you owe me any.' And I said, 'Mr. Moorehouse, that's more than fair,'" said Haslam.

Haslam did not admit any wrongdoing and said, along with the internal audit team's investigation, Pilot Flying J is also hiring an outside investigator.

Haslam said Pilot Flying J has plans to get rid of its manual transactions by June 30th.  The company is also creating a Chief Compliance Officer position, with hopes of having someone in place within the next 30 days.