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Haslam's Pilot Flying J faces long investigation

10:49 PM, Apr 30, 2013   |    comments
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KNOXVILLE -- It could be months before Pilot Flying J employees or Jimmy Haslam face indictments in an alleged rebate fraud scheme.

But that doesn't mean they aren't already preparing their defense.

WKYC's Sara Shookman is in Knoxville.

She says that, for most people, Pilot Flying J is not just a truck stop and Jimmy Haslam isn't the only name they know inside these buildings.

Four class-action lawsuits in four states are already filed. So the next piece of the puzzle is fallout for those who work there.

Knoxville criminal defense attorney Dennis Francis calls it "getting to be first on the bus."

If several, maybe dozens of Pilot employees believe they could be facing charges, they might be the first to line up to make a deal with federal attorneys to bolster the government's case.

It's not clear if Pilot Flying J could foot the bill for lawyers for lower level employees. What's likely is defense attorneys are meeting to figure out a common scheme and sign joint defense agreements to prevent these possible defendants from implicating each other.

What is clear is that the government isn't likely to spend two years on an investigation to this extent and not plan to file charges.

The U.S. Attorney's Office here in Knoxville told WKYC today that the investigation is ongoing.

They seized documents, hard drives, entire images of these computers -- quite a bit of information to wade through.

Aubrey Harwell, Jimmy Haslam's attorney, says they know this can take quite a long time.

WKYC-TV

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