Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Will Lance Armstrong be charged with fraud?

The NY Times reported yesterday that two "authorities" have revealed that U.S. government officials are considering investigating Lance Armstrong on fraud charges. One of the authorities said that they are particularly interested in "whether money from the United States Postal Service, the main sponsor of Armstrong’s team from 1996 to 2004, was used to buy performance-enhancing drugs." If the government could prove fraud, the sentence for committing fraud is generally longer than that of drug distribution.

The article also states:
“Federal fraud charges are fairly straightforward; they apply to any scheme to acquire money or property through deceit or misrepresentation,” said Daniel C. Richman, a professor of law at Columbia University and former federal prosecutor. “In this case, the authorities would have to prove that Armstrong was misrepresenting himself to sponsors by saying that he was clean but was actually using performance-enhancing drugs and profiting from it.”
If I was involved in the investigation, I would generate a list of people to talk to for evidence that Lance has been lying and, therefore, committing fraud regarding his use of performance enhancing drugs. In addition to Floyd Landis, here is a short list of people I would talk with first:
  1. Lance's former teammate and friend (similar to Floyd Landis), Frankie Andreu, and his wife Betsy testified that they "overheard Armstrong tell his oncologist that he had used “steroids, testosterone, cortisone, growth hormone and EPO.”
  2. Authors of a Danish article (translated to English) which claims that Armstrong admitted that he paid large sums of money to UCI (the international cycling agency that enforces doping violations). This article suggests there is strong evidence that Lance and Johan Bruyneel have been influencing the UCI as Landis suggested.
  3. Authors of several books that document other associates of Armstrong who claim they have knowledge of him doping including the French book titled "L. A. Confidentiel : Les secrets de Lance Armstrong" (L. A. Confidential : Lance Armstrong's Secrets). An english book was written by one of the same authors as "L.A. Confidentiel..." titled: "From Lance to Landis: Inside the American Doping Controversy at the Tour de France."
  4. Armstrong's former masseuse, Emma O'Reilly, who claimed Armstrong once "asked her to dispose of used syringes and to give him makeup to conceal needle marks on his arms."
  5. Armstrong's former Motorola teammate, Steve Swart, who said under oath that he, Armstrong and other riders began using drugs in 1995 because they were frustrated by their results.
  6. The author of the 2005 French sporting newspaper, Le Equipe, article that alleges that six urine samples from Armstrong's 1999 Tour de France were re-tested using newer EPO detection technology that can be used with urine and showed he was doping in the 1999 Tour.
  7. James Startt and Greg LeMond who claim that Stephanie McIlvain, who was Armstrong's contact at Oakley Inc., said that she heard the same things that Frankie and Betsy Andreu claimed to have heard (see #1 above).
  8. Michael Ashenden who is an Australian researcher who testified in court (and has claimed elsewhere) that Armstrong's (hematocrit) levels were shown to be rising and falling over various tests during the Tour de France which is, according to Ashenden, consistent with a series of EPO injections.
That list is probably long enough for now.

After compiling this list, I think I'm past the point where I could be like my cycling friend who told me yesterday that he has conscientiously decided to be in denial so he can enjoy watching pro cycling and watch his Lance Armstrong videos when he rides in the winter! For me, the party is over...


  1. I had hoped it wasn't true, but after watching the video of Lance's weak denials, and seeing this list, my faith is shaken. It would be nice to have an American who could legitimately compete in the Tour.

  2. Steven: I was hopeful too but this last accusation from a former friend and teammate has tipped the scale way over the preponderance of evidence line for me...

  3. Lets let the evidence support a conclusion and not conjecture please.

  4. pjcrage: The evidence above does support a conclusion. Unless you believe that several friends and associates of Lance have been lying and that Lance has been beating convicted dopers while he is clean, the logical conclusion is that Lance has been doping.