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Local Flying J unaffected by FBI investigation

While Pilot Flying J corporate workers are under FBI investigation, it is business as usual at Roberts's Pilot Flying J gas station/truck stop, according to Christian Hiort, Pilot Flying J shift leader.

"As far as I know, it's really having no affect at all on the individual stores," Hiort said. "They just said... keep doing as if everything was the same, because it pretty much is for us."

Hiort said the investigation isn't affecting the day-to-day business of the store, because its centered around a small portion of Flying J's business and only a relatively small number of employees.

An FBI investigation into Flying J's rebates was launched at the end of April. Several Pilot Flying J employees have reportedly pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges in a suspected scheme that allegedly involved withholding rebate money from trucking companies.

According to a statement on Pilot Flying J's website, the company is cooperating with the federal investigation and has created a plan to address issues raised by the investigation. According to the statement, the company is conducting audits of customer accounts to ensure all rebates are accurate. Checks were mailed out to customers who Flying J found to have irregularities in their accounts on July 1 and 2.

"We are dealing aggressively with this situation," said Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam in an April 22 news release, "and we all believe we will come out of this adversity stronger than ever as individuals and as a company."

Flying J has ceased to offer manual rebates, as of June 30. Further, the statement reads, the company has created a "Chief Compliance Officer" position to oversee the company's corporate compliance program.

"The position ensures that the Board of Directors, management and employees are in compliance with the rules and regulations of regulatory agencies; that company policies and procedures are being followed; and that behavior in the organization meets our company's code of conduct and high ethical standards," the release reads.

The company also appointed an independent special investigator to look into the rebate and discount programs.

Meanwhile in Roberts, Hiort said, it's "Business as usual and just keep trucking."

Jeff Holmquist
Jeff Holmquist has been managing editor of the New Richmond News since 2004. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and business administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has previously worked as editor in Wadena, Minn.; Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Hutchinson, Minn.; and Bloomington, Minn. He also was previously owner of the Osceola Sun, Stillwater Courier and Scandia Messenger along with his wife. Together they previously founded and published The Old Times newspaper for antiques and collectibles collectors; and Up!, a Christian magazine of hope and encouragement.
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