KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A federal grand jury is now investigating allegations of fuel rebate fraud involving Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and his Knoxville, Tennessee-based Pilot Flying J Travel Centers.
In an exclusive report, NewsChannel5 has learned the grand jury has been hearing testimony from witnesses connected to the alleged fraud that first surfaced publicly following the April 15 raid at the company's headquarters.
Five former Pilot Flying J employees have already pleaded guilty in the case and have agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee that is overseeing the case said, "The United States Attorney's Office never confirms or denies any activity regarding a grand jury, so we have no comment at this time."
Meanwhile, 23 trucking companies across the country have filed petitions for class-action lawsuits, alleging they were cheated out of thousands of dollars in promised fuel rebates.
In recent weeks, Haslam has insisted that the Cleveland Browns are not for sale and has consistently said he was, "unaware of any wrongdoing."
He has not been charged with any crime.
A spokesperson for Pilot Flying J declined to comment on the grand jury investigation.