Pilot Flying J’s former president Mark Hazelwood has asked a judge to allow him to spend the holidays at home with his family before he reports to prison to serve his twelve and a half year sentence for scamming truck drivers out of millions of dollars. On September 26, Hazelwood, 59, was sentenced to 150 months in prison and fined $750,000 after he was found guilty on verdict of guilty on charges of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud related to a scheme designed to dupe truckers out of promised diesel fuel rebates. The fuel rebate scam cost small trucking companies over $50 million.
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U.S. District Judge Curtis Collier has already agreed to allow Hazelwood to spend Thanksgiving with his family before he reports to prison, but now the Knox News reports that Hazelwood has asked Collier for even more time. In a motion filed last week, Hazelwood has asked Collier for Christmas and New Years at home with his family as well. Hazelwood’s attorneys describe him as a “devout Christian” with “deeply held religious beliefs” and say that it is only fair to allow him to spend time with his family over the Christmas holiday before he reports to prison. The lawyers also point out that Hazelwood has already paid his $750,000 fine in full.
It isn’t yet clear how Judge Collier will respond to the request. Seventeen other former Pilot Flying J employees pled guilty to fraud charges associated with the now-infamous diesel fuel rebate scam, which involved Pilot Flying J employees making false promises to deliver discounted fuel to truckers who they believed were too unsophisticated to notice that they were being conned. Following a 2013 raid of company headquarters, Pilot Flying J took responsibility for the fraud scheme and has already paid out $92 million in fines to the federal government along with $85 million in settlements.