Jurors ended their first full day Monday without reaching a verdict in the fraud trial for four former Pilot Flying J employees accused of conspiring in a multimillion-dollar scheme to cheat some diesel fuel customers.
U.S. District Court Judge Curtis L. Collier brought the Chattanooga area group in about 5:06 p.m., thanked them for their work and excused them, warning them to avoid reading or watching anything about the case.
They'll resume deliberations 9 a.m. Tuesday.
The jury began considering evidence against defendants Mark Hazelwood, the former Pilot president, Scott Wombold, Heather Jones and Karen Mann on Wednesday afternoon. They met for a few hours then and went home, taking a four-day break.
The four are accused among others of conspiring to defraud some Pilot fuel clients from at least 2008 to 2013. The government alleges Pilot sales personnel would promise some companies a rebate rate to keep or land their business and then quietly give them a lower amount.
Related: Fraud trial nears ends
Many clients didn't even know they were being ripped off, according to the government. The scam proved profitable to both the private fuel giant as well as some sales personnel, prosecutors allege.
Fourteen former Pilot employees have pleaded guilty in the case; some of them testified as government witnesses. They await sentencing by Collier.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, Hazelwood, Wombold and Jones face mail fraud counts. Hazelwood also is accused of trying to influence the potential testimony of his former executive assistant, and Wombold is accused of lying to federal agents the day the FBI and IRS raided Pilot headquarters in April 2013.
Only Mann faces one count -- the conspiracy charge -- in the government's case.
PIlot has paid a $92 million penalty and more than $80 million in civil settlements as a result of the scam. It also has cooperated with the government in preparing its criminal case.
The trial began in early November. The government rested its case last week.
The trial is being held in Chattanooga because of extensive publicity in the Knoxville area, where Pilot is headquartered.
Wombold, a former Pilot vice president, was away from court Monday so he could attend the funeral of a family member, another sign of just how long the trial has gone on.