Defense for Mark Hazelwood to appeal sentence in Pilot Flying J case

Published: Sep. 26, 2018 at 5:02 PM EDT
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On Wednesday afternoon, former Pilot Flying J president Mark Hazelwood was sentenced to over 12 years in prison.

On Thursday, Hazelwood's legal team announced they would file an appeal.

Jim Walden, lawyer for Hazelwood, said, "Mark maintains his innocence and we will be filing our notice of appeal today. We are grateful to Judge Collier for accepting and crediting our expert's testimony that Pilot's misconduct was immaterial to customers, as losses were too small."

Previously, the court had ruled Hazelwood was behind a massive scheme that ripped off truckers by paying them smaller rebates than promised. In

2013, the FBI raided Pilot's headquarters. After the company was raided, it was revealed that Pilot Flying J paid an $85 million settlement to scammed customers and a $92 million penalty to the government. This week, Hazelwood was up for sentencing. Senior U.S. District Judge Curtis Collier sentenced him to 12 and a half years in prison along with a $750,000 fine. Walden continued, "We are also grateful for his showing some mercy by rejecting the Department of Justice’s request for a nearly 14-year sentence, but Mark’s sentence is still unreasonably long in light of the negligible impact of Pilot’s conduct.” While awaiting sentencing, he was ordered to wear an ankle bracelet and remain confined to his home. That is where he spoke with WVLT News anchor Ted Hall in late August On the allegations against him, he said, "It's devastating. I spent my whole life in the trucking industry. My whole life." Hazelwood will not go to jail for 60 days.