LITTLE ROCK, AR(News Sentinel) - A federal judge in Arkansas said Monday he will approve a proposed settlement between PIlot Flying J and trucking companies that have sued over allegations of diesel fuel rebate fraud.

In a brief hearing, U.S. District Judge James M. Moody said the settlement was fair, reasonable and adequate. The decision came after Pilot attorney Aubrey Harwell and plaintiffs attorney Don Barrett had made arguments in favor of the settlement proposal.

The controversy erupted in April, after federal officials raided Pilot's headquarters, and an ongoing criminal investigation has netted seven guilty pleas.

The company was also hit with more than 20 civil lawsuits, and reached a settlement with some of those plaintiffs in which it offered to fully repay any company that was shorted on fuel rebates, plus 6 percent interest and attorney's fees.

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