Bass, Berry & Sims obtained a complete victory for the former vice president of Pilot Flying J, who, along with three others, was accused by the United States Department of Justice of seeking to defraud customers in a fuel rebate scheme following the U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI, and IRS’s raid on Pilot’s headquarters on April 15, 2013. In the year following the raid, 10 Pilot employees pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and/or wire fraud, and Pilot entered into a Criminal Enforcement Agreement. On February 3, 2016, after a nearly five-year investigation, a federal grand jury returned a 58-page, 14-count indictment charging our client and other former Pilot employees.
On November 6, 2017, the highly-publicized federal trial of our client and three other defendants began. After three months of testimony, the jury acquitted our client of six of seven counts, including conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and making false statements to government agents. In October 2020, the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed our client’s sole count of conviction and remanded the case back to the district court for a second trial. Following this successful appellate ruling, and after many months of continued advocacy on behalf of our client, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee filed a motion in July 2021 to dismiss, with prejudice, the one remaining criminal charge, bringing an end to a case spanning almost ten years. John Kelly, co-chair of the firm’s Compliance & Government Investigations Practice Group, was the lead attorney for our client.
The case is United States v. Mark Hazelwood, et al.
The decision was covered in the following media outlets:
- “A Boatload of Worthy Litigation of the Week Runners-Up and Shout Outs,” Law.com (July 30, 2021)
- “Feds Drop Pilot Flying J Fraud Case After 6th Circ. Defeat,” Law360 (July 27, 2021)
- “Prosecutors Won’t Seek Retrial in 3 Pilot Flying J Cases,” Associated Press (July 27, 2021) – article republished in The Washington Post, ABC News
- “Government Bombshell: Prosecutors Want to Drop Criminal Case Against Former Pilot President, Vice President, Sales Employee,” WBIR (July 27, 2021)