Defense to focus on Haslam relationship with conspirator

(WSMV file photo)

By ERIK SCHELZIGAssociated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The country's largest truck stop chain was flying high. Its CEO had recently bought a pro football team and his brother was the popular governor of Tennessee hinting at aspirations for national office. Then federal agents descended on the family-owned company's headquarters.

The ramifications for Pilot Flying J were immense. Fourteen former members of the sales team pleaded guilty to participating in a scheme to rip off trucking company customers they deemed too unsophisticated to realize they weren't receiving the rebates they had negotiated.

Four former executives, including the onetime Pilot president, go on trial in Chattanooga on Monday.

Pilot, which is run by Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, agreed to an $85 million settlement with most of the defrauded customers and a $92 million penalty to the government.Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.