Pilot Flying J to pay $92M fine

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam also owns the company Pilot Flying J.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

It looks as if a chapter Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam would rather forget could be ending.

The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee announced on Monday that Haslam’s company, Pilot Flying J, has entered into a criminal enforcement agreement and has agreed to a $92 million penalty.

As part of the agreement, Pilot accepts legal responsibility for the criminal conduct of its employees, which caused more than $56 million in loss to its customers, and agrees to pay full restitution to every victim of the fraud. The company has already paid back the $56 million to those companives involved.

Though the deal does not specifically shield any individuals from prosecution, it’s hard to believe Haslam would have accepted it without some sort of assurance that he’ll able to avoid individual prosecution and possible jail time.

Since the IRS and FBI raided Pilot’s headquarters on April 15, 2013, 10 Pilot employees have agreed to cooperate with the ongoing federal investigation and entered guilty pleas to mail and wire fraud charges arising from their involvement in the fraudulent reduction of diesel fuel price discounts owed to Pilot customers.

"The terms of this agreement, including the significant monetary penalty and the very serious consequences if Pilot fails to comply, demonstrate quite clearly that no corporation, no matter how big, influential, or wealthy, is above the law," U.S. Attorney Bill Killian said in a statement. "In addition, the company’s agreement to fully cooperate with the United States, including its obligation to identify its employees’ criminal conduct, will assist the ongoing federal investigation. The agreement ensures that Pilot’s extensive remediation efforts will continue until all trucking company victims have received full restitution and until Pilot has demonstrated to the United States that it has implemented sufficient internal controls to prevent this kind of fraudulent conduct from ever occurring again."

An NFL spokesman said the league was planning to have no comment on the agreement.