Pilot Flying J faces sixth lawsuit over fuel rebate program

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer | 5/15/2013

A sixth trucking company has filed a civil lawsuit against Pilot Flying J, claiming it was a victim of the alleged fuel rebate scheme.

Osborn Transportation of Rainbow, AL, which does business primarily out of Gadsden, AL, claims it contracted with Pilot through a “rebate paying program” for its fueling needs.

According to court documents, Osborn “received their rebate amount by check, either monthly or quarterly” or received a direct discount, known as a “direct bill” on their invoices for fuel purchases.

“Under the agreement terms, Osborn was entitled to receive specified rebate amounts based upon the amount of diesel fuel purchased,” the complaint states. “Pilot breached this agreement by reducing Osborn’s rebate amount without the knowledge or consent or agreement of Osborn.”

Osborn Transportation has 256 power units and 200 drivers, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

On April 15, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service raided Pilot Flying J corporate headquarters, seizing computers and documents related to the alleged fuel rebate fraud scheme.

Since the FBI and the IRS launched their criminal investigation, at least six civil lawsuits have been filed against Pilot Flying J. The lawsuits are based on the FBI’s affidavit for a search warrant, now unsealed. In the affidavit, claims were made by former employees and informants cooperating with the FBI that sales staff entered into rebate or discount programs with trucking companies for purchasing a certain volume of fuel each month, but then manually reduced the amounts the companies were owed.

“We’ve been advised by counsel (that) class action lawsuits in a matter like this are expected and no surprise,” said Tom Ingram, Pilot Flying J spokesman, in a statement to Land Line on Wednesday, May 15. “Our counsel will review them as they come and defend them appropriately.” 

Related articles and blogs:
Pilot board appoints independent counsel to lead internal investigation
Civil lawsuits mount against Pilot Flying J over alleged fuel rebate scheme

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