Written by Walter F. Roche Jr., The Tennessean
An Ohio firm has filed a class-action lawsuit charging that it was defrauded by Pilot Flying J since at least 2005 in a scheme in which promised rebates were cut by millions of dollars.
In a 19-page complaint filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Toledo, lawyers for Ohio Auto Delivery Inc. charged that the company was defrauded by the national truck-stop firm when promised rebates were secretly reduced.
The suit, like more than a dozen others filed since mid-April, cites a 120-page affidavit filed by an FBI agent to justify an April 15 raid on Pilot's Knoxville headquarters. The affidavit filed in federal court in Knoxville describes a scheme by Pilot sales executives to secretly reduce rebates promised to truckers who wouldn't notice the reductions.
Attached to the Ohio Auto Delivery suit is a copy of a contract the firm had with Pilot dated Aug. 3, 2004. The two-page agreement does not specify a specific rebate.
The suit charges that the reduction in the promised rebate violated consumer protection laws in Tennessee and Ohio.
Earlier this week, two Pilot sales officials entered guilty pleas to mail fraud charges.