Judge In Pilot Travel Centers Case Directs Government To List Defendants In Order Of Culpability

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Chattanooga judge overseeing the Pilot Travel Centers fraud case has directed prosecutors to rank the 17 defendants in order of culpability for purposes of sentencing.

Judge Curtis Collier said he plans to handle the sentencings in groups of three or four.

Authorities said earlier that those who entered guilty pleas were facing up to five years in prison, while those who went to trial faced up to 20 years.

A jury last week found Karen Mann not guilty, but returned single convictions against Heather Jones and former Pilot national sales director Scott Wombold. Former Pilot president Mark Hazelwood was found guilty of three felony counts. He is under home confinement at his Knoxville residence.

Judge Collier said in an order, "The Court intends to conduct the sentencing hearings in groups of three or four Defendants at a time. In order to guide the Court in scheduling the sentencing hearings in an orderly and logical manner, the United States (the “Government”) SHALL file a document listing Defendants in order of the Government’s approximation of their respective culpability within seven days of the issuance of this Order. The Government may include any other information it believes is relevant to scheduling the sentencing hearings. Any Defendant MAY file an optional response within seven days of the Government’s filing.

"The purpose of this Order is solely to facilitate the orderly and just sentencing of the multiple Defendants in this case. The Court does not expect—and will not review—a sentencing memorandum on any Defendant at this time, and no party will be limited to the opinion or position it states in any response to this Order."

The case involves a scheme to defraud trucking companies of promised rebates.

Other defendants to be sentenced are John Freeman, Vicki Borden, John Spiewak, Katy Bibee, Ashley Judd, Arnie Ralenkotter, Jay Stinnett, Holly Radford, Kevin Clark, Michael Scott Fenwick, Janet Welch, Chris Andrews, Brian Mosher and Lexie Holden.

Many of those testified during the lengthy trial at the Federal Courthouse in Chattanooga that began in early November.

PHOTOS: Group Marches Downtown Against School Gun Violence

Marchers went from Coolidge Park to the County Courthouse and back in a protest against gun violence at schools  (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BANKSTON, JOHNNY  44 HOMEPLACE RD LOT 15 ROSSVILLE, 30741  Age at Arrest: 42 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE STOP SIGN VIOLATION --- BENNETT, RAHEEM KISRABA  6106 WATER OAK LN HARRISON, 37341  Age at Arrest: 39 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Food Trucks Steal From Property And Rent-Paying Eateries - And Response

According to minutes of the City Council’s  Economic Development Committee and several local news articles, Chattanooga’s City Attorney gave a food truck presentation. He explained to City Council that a new food truck ordinance was being drafted to allow use of mobile food trucks on public  property . He said Chattanooga’s current ordinance limited food trucks to parking ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

I don’t make much of a secret that I hated every single second of the short time I spent in college or that I never took a journalism class. Instead what I know about writing was taught by a far greater collection of experts than you can find on any college campus. Andy Rooney, for example, was a genius with a dry humor who lectured to me almost every Sunday night for about 30 years. ... (click for more)

Ooltewah, Meigs County Post Wins In Ooltewah Invitational Softball

On the first full day of play in the Ooltewah Invitational, the host Lady Owls and two-time Class A state champion Meigs County posted impressive wins at The Summit. Ooltewah’s Hadley Morrow overcame a rough start and scattered seven hits, Kayla Boseman smacked a two-run home run in a three-run fourth inning, center-fielder Addy Keylon made a sensational catch to save a homer ... (click for more)

Hixson Rally Tops Notre Dame In 5-4 Thriller

The Hixson Wildcats collected a dozen hits in Thursday’s baseball win over Boyd-Buchanan and they made it five wins in a row on Friday over Notre Dame, despite getting only half as many hits. The bottom line is this:   Who cares how many hits you get as long as you score more runs than the opposing team? The Wildcats only had six, but they were able to score five runs ... (click for more)