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3 convicted Pilot execs will avoid prison until appeals are heard

A judge ruled on Thursday that Heather Jones did not have to report to prison until her appeal was heard. An appeals court made the same ruling earlier for two of her co-defendants.

A federal judge is letting a former Pilot Flying J sales executive put off prison while her case is on appeal.

Judge Curtis Collier signed off on the order Thursday.

He made the decision after an appeals court stepped in and ruled that two of her co-defendants don’t have to report to prison while their cases are on appeal.

RELATED: Full coverage of Pilot Flying J investigation

Last year a jury convicted Heather Jones, Mark Hazelwood and Scott Wombold of taking part in a scheme to cheat some Pilot fuel customers of promised rebates.

During the trial, the judge agreed to let the prosecution introduce secret recordings on which Hazelwood, the former Pilot president, made racist remarks.

The former Pilot employees argue that was a mistake--- the tapes shouldn’t have been played to the jury.

They’re appealing their cases in hopes of having them thrown out.

Now that Collier has ruled, all three defendants will remain free on bond while the federal appeals court in Cincinnati reviews their case.