CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Pilot Flying J continues to deny that Jimmy Haslam had any knowledge of the fraud scheme that has led to 14 former Pilot employees pleading guilty to scamming truck companies out of fuel rebates.
Four former employees accused in the scam appeared in court Tuesday, and journalists covering the trial reported that a secret recording of Haslam was played.
The recording allegedly originated from a Pilot sales training session, where Haslam remarked, "Sounds like Stick's old deal with Western."
Haslam's remark was followed by laughter, according to reports.
"Stick" is John Stick Freeman who has plead guilty in the scam, and "Western" is Western Express Trucking, a company that was allegedly being scammed.
Cleveland attorney Subodh Chandra, a former federal prosecutor, is following the trial.
"The statement from Haslam, assuming the published reports are accurate, is significant because it does seem to be subject to the interpretation that Haslam was making a joking reference to the fraud scheme, but it's not enough information to characterize as a smoking gun," Chandra said.
Chandra went on to say that it's still not clear what the government's position is on Haslam.
"It seems the bricks of evidence that the government is putting in do seem to point to knowledge by Haslam, what remains to be seen is whether there will now be testimony that says under oath that Haslam knew," he said.
Reports claim that testimony may have started.
A USA Today network reporter based in Chattanooga, Tennessee reports that former Pilot Flying J sales executive Brian Mosher testified that federal agents showed up at his home and asked him to place a call to Haslam.
Mosher testified he made the call, and said, "Jimmy, we've been caught."
Mosher testified that Haslam responded, "I understand there are some folks at your house."
Haslam has not been charged in connection with the scam.