Documents say Haslam Knew of Fraud

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Jimmy Haslam III (Photo Credit: Fox 8 News video still)

CLEVELAND– Federal documents unsealed on Thursday indicate that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam knew that his company, Pilot Flying J, was engaging in fraudulent practices.  Federal agents raided company headquarters in Knoxville, Tennessee, as they concluded an investigation that began in May, 2011.

The federal affidavit indicates that a confidential informant told investigators that Haslam and Pilot Flying J’s current president knew about fraud relating to unpaid rebates. The documents say Haslam and the company president were in the room when the fraud was discussed.

In a statement released on Thursday, Haslam said, “I maintain that the foundation of this company is built on its integrity and that any willful wrongdoing by any employee at any time is intolerable.”  He added regrets that vendors, customers and team members have to got through this and concluded “but I trust and believe their faith in this company and its principles has never been misplaced.”

No company employees were arrested.  Haslam said the company is cooperating fully with the investigation.  Browns CEO Joe Banner said, “Browns operations are the same as they’ve always been.”

CLICK to read the affadavit.