Mark Hazelwood, ex Pilot Flying J President, gets 12.5 years behind bars

The first sentencing of the Pilot Flying J “manual rebate” scandal

Perhaps it was Mark Hazelwood’s seniority in the Pilot Flying J organization, or the cumulative nature of the recordings, emails, texts, wires and other communications that led to his being found guilty on most of the counts he was indicted on in mid-February. It seems equally as likely that his coarse language on numerous documents, and the highly sensational recording of his racist rant didn’t do him any favors with the jury.

In sentencing Hazelwood to 150 months, Senior U.S. District Judge Curtis L. Collier Jr. had to evaluate the calculus of the money involved, as well as the scope of the crime. The court was also obliged to consider the aspects of retribution, deterrence, and rehabilitation. At the end of his final statement, Collier said that in light of all those involved and how “all roads led to Mr. Hazelwood” when it came to the culture, that for retribution, his sentence should be above the guideline range. For deterrence, with the increase in data technology, and this kind of crime only possibly growing, above the guidelines might also be merited. Even for rehabilitation, Collier seemed inclined to go beyond the guidelines. “Usually this isn’t an issue in white collar crime, but Mr. Hazelwood is different as he owns several businesses and due to his competitive nature, we must consider this too.”

Yet the court chose a range almost right between the 135 and 168 months that were the established guidelines. Judge Collier attributed this to the strong testimony of the 168 letters that had been sent to the court, as well as today’s persuasive defense which spoke to the strong character of Hazelwood and the many charitable things he has done over his lifetime.

Hazelwood will also be fined the maximum amount of $250,000 per count for a total of $750,000.

Today, the long-awaited final results are in (although more sentencing will follow over the coming months). Still, there has been plenty of drama since the February verdict on charges of wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, and witness tampering. Hazelwood has been under house arrest since his conviction. His trial attorney, Rusty Hardin and his firm choose not to file a motion seeking a new trial and began building an appeal based on Judge Collier’s most legally controversial ruling, which permitted jurors to hear a drunken Hazelwood using racial epithets at a meeting of Pilot Flying J supervisors.

Hazelwood fired Hardin in May, and hired Knoxville lawyer Brad Henry and New York firm Walden, Macht and Haran. The new team claimed Hardin botched Hazelwood’s trial in his strategy to depict Hazelwood as a hard-traveling executive, much too busy to lead a fraud scheme. The new legal team asked for a four-month delay in sentencing. Judge Collier reluctantly agreed to a delay, but only for a single month. Any delay also has a chain-reaction impact to the several others who were found guilty of participating in the scheme.

During that narrow window of time, Hazelwood’s new legal team then filed an appeal for a whole new trial, which late last week, Judge Collier denied, saying the appeal was effectively without legal merit. Collier said Hazelwood had no excuse for tarrying months after his February conviction in U.S. District Court in Chattanooga to seek a new trial.

“The Court has reviewed each of defendant’s arguments that trial counsel rendered constitutionally ineffective assistance to him before and during trial,” Collier wrote. “The Court finds none of them to have even such a small amount of merit as would allow the Court to find excusable neglect for their late filing.”

Collier allowed jurors to hear the controversial recordings, though he warned them to consider only whether they contradicted the defense’s portrayal of Hazelwood as too busy and too astute to commit such systematic fraud. Hardin fought the move and publicly stated it would be a key appellate issue.

Collier said Hardin’s legal strategy was sound, even though the defense was ultimately rejected by the jury.

“(Hardin) conceived a well-designed, well-thought-out defense strategy that portrayed Defendant as a busy, brilliant, hardworking, high executive who cared deeply about the continued viability and success of Pilot,” Collier wrote in his opinion. “This strategy was unveiled in the opening statement and built upon throughout the trial through the cross examination of witnesses called by the government.”

“The defense introduced a lengthy video in which defendant had a starring role. Trial counsel brought out that defendant was instrumental in every significant undertaking and initiative of Pilot. Trial Counsel brought out that Defendant was absent from his office often on Pilot business. The inference to be drawn from this was that defendant was too busy to pay attention to the fraudulent actions of many of his subordinates who were involved in the charged scheme and artifice to defraud,” Collier wrote. “There was nothing wrong with this strategy and it held promise of being effective and persuasive to the jury.”

Convoy received $185M from CapitalG, Value reaches $1M

Convoy, an on-demand Uber for trucks company that connects truckers and shippers, raised $185 million funding on 21st September 2018, led by Alphabet’s CapitalG.

Growth of Convoy as Uber for trucks service providerUber for trucks

Founded in 2015, Convoy is a Seattle based digital freight booking software. It was established by 2 former Amazon employees, Dan Lewis and Grant Goodale.

Uber for trucks Trucks often sit idle due to inefficient scheduling – Convoy Co-founder and CEO Dan Lewis

Convoy is all about cutting out mediators and the long communication chain it requires to get in touch with companies that have trucks with space to make those shipments.

Small trucking businesses were unable to connect to the shippers and shippers found very limited options to move their loads. This dis-balance in demand and supply led to trucks towing empty trailers further leading to wastage of huge percentage of fuel and unemployed truck drivers.

Uber for trucks, Convoy, helps people with small trucking businesses get their loads at acceptable prices through an application.

Process of booking Uber for trucksUber for trucks

Trucking side:

Uber for trucksTruckers are provided with an application where they can see and accept the load hailing demands and send the trucks accordingly.

Uber for trucksTruckers get the exact idea of what material they are transporting, allowing them to be prepared  with the proper equipment.

Uber for trucksTrucking businesses can manage multiple loads as the app make it easier to keep track of all the ongoing trips.

Shipper side:

Uber for trucksShipper can book the load hailing service for transportation of its goods via the Convoy Uber for trucks app.

Uber for trucksShipper specifies the content, size and other required details about the load.

Uber for trucksThe app immediately generates the price of the load hailing service and displays it to the shipper.

Uber for trucksShipper confirms the order and make payment on day of its completion.

UI of Convoy

Uber for trucks
Truck drivers can find and book the loads instantly via the Convoy app.


Uber for trucks
A truck driver can also book the load for a specified place and at the specified time.


Uber for trucks
Electronic upload Bill of Lading (e-BOL)
Image credits: Convoy App, Google Play

Why is Convoy getting all the attention?Uber for trucks

Convoy, Uber for trucks, is a startup that raised such a huge sum of capital via venture. Uber for trucks app, Convoy, is looking to transform the $800 billion trucking industry, which is not an easy task.

Convoy connects truckers with people who need their freights moved. Now, with the $185 Million funding, taking Convoy’s valuation at $1 Billion, it can think of expanding worldwide with further diverse services.

Convoy being a Uber for trucks startup, is likely to face stiff competition from other established Uber for trucks service providers. Convoy aims at diminishing importance of freight brokers, Coexisting with the key players of trucking industry’s online freight brokers is going to be a very tough call.

ConclusionUber for trucks

Convoy announced a whopping $185 Million Series C round led by CapitalG, the venture capital arm of Google parent Alphabet. It’s the fourth-largest funding round ever for a Washington-based company and the largest of 2018.

A startup like Convoy is showing immense growth in the industry, In terms of financial as well as customers, implying the open doors of the industry for new entrepreneurs to set up their startups.

Get Your Operating Authority in 7-10 Business Days! Fast!

If you’re an owner-operator who’s leased on with a carrier, you’ve probably toyed with the idea of getting your own authority. While there’s a lot less financial risk when you’re leased on, many drivers want the chance to earn more money and run independently.

It normally takes about 5 to 7 weeks to complete your authority, with us we usually have you Active in as little as 7-10 business days! There are a lot of upfront costs associated with getting your operating authority, not to mention the maze of regulations. To help you decide whether or not to take the plunge, here’s a quick rundown of the requirements to start your own trucking company.

Need assistance getting your authority? Alpha One Logistics can handle the paperwork for you.


What is Operating Authority (Common Carrier Authority)?

Any for-hire carrier over 10,000 GVW who will be crossing state lines is required to have authority from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). You’re also required to have an MC (motor carrier) number, issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which allows you to transport regulated commodities.

Before You File

You need to decide on a few things before you start filling out applications:

  • Business name – You’ll need to choose a name for your company that’s not already in use.
  • Business type – Get with your accountant to decide how your business should be organized: sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation. Each comes with a different level of liability, and the taxes for each vary based on the state you’re in. We can also file these for you!
  • Freight – What are you going to haul? Who are your future customers? If you don’t already have customers, you can search for available loads on a load board. We can point you in the right direction.

Proof of Insurance

Before the FMCSA approves your authority, you’ll need to submit proof of liability insurance. This is one of the biggest obstacles for owner-operators looking into getting their own authority, since you’re now taking on the liability costs that the carrier you were leased on with was paying for. All carriers are required to have a minimum of $750,000 to $1 million in liability insurance for general freight or $3-5 million for hazmat. You will also have to cover $100,000 in cargo insurance.

Insurance premiums will vary based on your driving record, the state you live in, and the states you plan to do business in, and your equipment. New carriers are often charged a higher premium, with the price typically dropping once the business is more firmly established.

Other Requirements

But wait, there’s more:

  • Process agents – FMCSA requires you to have a process agent in every state you do business in. This is the entity that would get served papers if you had legal trouble in a state other than the one your business is based in. You file this with Form BOC-3.
  • Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) – Any rig weighing at least 55,000 lbs has to pay HVUT, which is $100 plus an extra $22 for every 1,000 lbs the rig weighs over 55,000. This is filed with IRS Form 2290.
  • Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) – This is filed with the state you’re based in, and the fee is based on the number of trucks in your fleet (power only). If you have 1 or 2 trucks, the fee is $72. Fleets of 3-5 trucks pay $209, and it keeps going up from there.
  • International Registration Plan (IRP) – Also known as your apportioned base plate or cab card, which is filed with your state. Beginning in 2015, the IRP began full reciprocity, which means all carriers will be apportioned for all of the Lower 48 states and the 10 Canadian provinces. These fees will be between $1,400 and $2,400 for the first year of registration.
  • IFTA – There’s a nominal fee for getting set up, based on your state ($0-$10).
  • Other state regulations – Some states require weight distance permits when traveling through them (NY, NM, and KY). Oregon requires a permit and a bond. Some states also require intrastate authority.
  • Drug and alcohol testing – Your new company must enroll in a drug and alcohol testing program, and anyone in the company holding a CDL must pass a screening.

DOT New Entrant Audit

Once you clear all these hurdles, you’ll be enrolled in the DOT New Entrant Program. Within your first 18 months of business, you’ll receive an audit that will focus on:

  • Driver qualifications
  • Driver logs
  • Maintenance programs
  • Accident register
  • Driver qualification files
  • Drug and alcohol policies
  • … And We got you covered!!! No Extra Charge!!!


Sound like a lot of hassle? Alpha One Logistics can take care of all the paperwork, including all federal fees, or we can help you during any part of the process. The BEST part is you get Access to One on One Carrier Business Consulting for 12 months, Business Credit Building help, Help with booking Loads, Fuel Cards with credit line, help with Compliance, and Factoring Account Setup!!! These are just the tip of the Ice Berg!

Email us today or Order on our services Page!