A Morgan Stanley financial planner who claims he was fired for collaborating with the FBI during an investigation of an alleged Pilot Flying J travel center fraud scheme filed a whistleblower lawsuit against his employer last week.
According to The Tennessean, Morgan Stanley employee John Verble filed the whistleblower lawsuit last week in federal court in Knoxville, Tenn. Mr. Verble alleges that Morgan Stanley retaliated against him when it found out he was cooperating with FBI authorities probing a complex Pilot Flying J scheme that allegedly defrauded trucking companies by not paying rebates it owed. The scheme implicated top executives at the company, The Tennessean reported.
Pilot Flying J is the largest travel center chain in the U.S., with more than 550 locations offering fuel, merchandise, food, showers, restrooms and other amenities to truck drivers and other traveling motorists. The company is owned by the Haslam family, which includes Tenn. Gov. Bill Haslam and his brother Jimmy Haslam, who is the company’s CEO.
In his lawsuit, Mr. Verble said he was spotted getting into a black car with FBI authorities in the spring of 2103. Media coverage of the Pilot Flying J investigation stoked concerns that Mr. Verble was collaborating with federal authorities. Those concerns culminated in heated upper-level meetings at Morgan Stanley, during which Mr. Verble claimed he was interrogated, physically threatened, and subjected to “character assassination.”
Morgan Stanley then put Mr. Verble on paid leave and fired him soon afterward, freezing funds he had in his brokerage account.
Mr. Verble’s collaboration with the FBI led to the federal prosecution of at least 10 Pilot Flying J employees, the lawsuit claims. “Pilot Flying J national sales director Brian Mosher alone was responsible for between $7 million and $20 million in losses for trucking companies,” The Tennessean reported.
Mr. Verble’s lawsuit also implicated Morgan Stanley in other illegal activity, including manipulating the books for Miller Energy, including “the company’s borrowing money without disclosing said loan to stockholders or the SEC,” misrepresenting trading activity to the feds, and engaging in insider trading.
According to The Tennessean, Mr. Verble seeks “twice his annual salary of $359,859 plus benefits, the reinstatement of his original position, the restoration of the approximately $263,000 in his brokerage account and other compensatory damages.”