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Jimmy Haslam strikes deal with Government; Company won't be prosecuted

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Jason Miller

It's been a hectic first few years on the job for Cleveland Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam. He's had  to watch the FBI and IRS investigate his company, Pilot Flying J Headquarters, alleging they'd engaged in a fraud scheme for many years to keep money owed to customers as gas rebates.

Documents filed by the FBI in court last year claim Haslam was aware of the fraud scheme, "committed by top sales officials" at his family business. They also allege Haslam was present for discussions about the fraudulent activities.

One of Haslam's top executives at PFJ, Brian Mosher, plead guilty to charges of complicity to commit mail fraud and wire fraud.

The latest from this though is the best news that Haslam has heard in a while. According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, the company won't be prosecuted.

Pilot Flying J said Monday it has "reached an understanding with the U. S. Attorney's office" and the U. S. Department of Justice, that the company will not be prosecuted in connection with an ongoing criminal investigation into alleged diesel fuel rebate fraud.

According to a news release, the agreement assumes the company follows the terms of an agreement, including paying a $92 million monetary penalty over the next two years and fully cooperating with the federal government's investigation of fraudulent conduct within the company's diesel fuel sales discount programs.

Haslam knows this probably means he'll avoid any trouble with the government that could have potentially led to him losing ownership of the Browns.

"We, as a company, look forward to putting this whole unfortunate episode behind us, continuing our efforts to rectify the damage done, regaining our customers' trust, and getting on with our business," CEO Jimmy Haslam said in the release. "We've been committed from the beginning of this to doing the right thing, and that remains our commitment."

Still, if Haslam allowed fraudulent activity to occur so blatantly under his watch at Pilot Flying J, knowingly or unknowingly, why should we believe he can properly run and manage an NFL franchise?

His first two years at the helm haven't done much to suggest he can revive a once-proud Browns franchise marred in mediocrity since returning to Cleveland in 1999.