Former Pilot regional sales director Brian Mosher testified Monday afternoon that he racked up as much as $350,000 of "profit" for the Knoxville-based firm by underpaying trucking firms.
He said when Mark Hazelwood, who was later Pilot president, got the report he commented, "Nice."
Hazelwood, former national sales director Scott Wombold and inside sales accountants Karen Mann and Heather Jones are on trial at Federal Court in Chattanooga. They face wire and mail fraud counts.
Mosher said one of the victims in the scheme was the national vehicle rental firm Ryder.
He said sales director John "Stick" Freeman said Ryder would be "a great account for Brian," who was adept at shorting trucking firms on promised discounts through a manual rebate program.
Pilot officials have testified that most of the companies just accepted the amount of the monthly checks they were sent instead of questioning why the checks were for much less than had been promised.
Mosher said he created "false spreadsheets" for Ryder officials.
He noted that he had been instructed to keep the monthly payment to Ryder below $100,000. In a month in which Ryder bought 811,000 gallons from Pilot, he sent a rebate check for $78,870. When Ryder bought 90,000 gallons the next month, to be "consistent" he had to up the next rebate check to $89,970.
The jury heard a tape of a sales meeting held at the Rockwood, Tn., lake home of Freeman.
In the profanity-laced tape, Freeman regaled the group with the tale of the time he got caught on a manual rebate fraud and Pilot had to wind up buying an unwanted airplane for $1 million from Western Express.
Freeman told the other sales directors it was important to "do what you say and say what you do." Mosher said that did not apply to the manual rebate program, which he said was "was the exact opposite of that."
Mosher said he was chosen to give a talk to the Pilot sales team on Nov. 19, 2012, on the manual rebate program.
He said the three main points were:
- how to target unsophisticated trucking companies
- how to cheat them out of their rebates, and
- how to get away with it.
Mosher said he had been "hammering for a promotion" and he was "fairly put off when other folks were promoted and I was not" in 2010.
Freeman was put over the eastern U.S. and Wombold the west.
Mosher said he pointed out that working the manual rebate scam was a lot of work and was not benefiting him much because his commission was capped.
He said he suggested to Hazelwood that he discontinue the fraud. He said Hazelwood replied, "That wouldn't be a very good idea."
Mosher said among those he showed profit and loss statements detailing money "saved" to Pilot was CEO Jimmy Haslam. Haslam, owner of the Cleveland Browns, has not been charged and has denied knowing of any wrongdoing.