Friday, February 22, 2013

Lance Armstrong Investigation: Fed to Join Landis in Suing Lance, Weisel and Stapleton

This is hot off the press and, from what I can tell, was first published by the Wall Street Journal. Amidst speculation in the past few days that the Department of Justice was not going to join in the whistleblower lawsuit filed by Floyd Landis, the WSJ is saying they are going to join in. This is bad news for Lance, Thom Weisel and Bill Stapleton since Lance has now stated publicly that he was doping. On the other hand, this is good news for Floyd Landis who could end up a multi-millionaire as a result of this lawsuit. Here are some key fraudbytes from the WSJ article:
The U.S. Department of Justice has decided to join a whistleblower lawsuit against former cyclist Lance Armstrong. ... The lawsuit, filed by ... Floyd Landis, alleges that Mr. Armstrong and others on his former cycling team defrauded the U.S. government when they took sponsorship dollars from the U.S. Postal Service... 
Under the federal False Claims Act, citizens can sue for alleged fraud against the government and receive a reward of as much as a third of any money recovered by the government. The Department of Justice can choose to join any false-claims lawsuit, increasing its chance of success.
The government is expected to file papers on the matter Friday in federal court in Washington...
The whistleblower lawsuit...also accuses Mr. Armstrong's former team owner, San Francisco investment banker Thomas Weisel, and his longtime agent, Bill Stapleton. 
If found to have violated the False Claims Act, Mr. Armstrong and others named in the suit would be liable for as much as triple the amount of the sponsorship, which was more than $30 million between 1999 and 2004, the years in which Mr. Armstrong won the Tour de France in a U.S. Postal Service jersey. ...
For Mr. Landis and the Department of Justice to prevail in the suit, they have to prove only that team managers signed contracts with the U.S. Postal Service that they knew, or should have known, were false, whistleblower lawyers say. ...
According to people briefed on the matter, top Justice Department officials had a meeting Thursday afternoon to decide whether to join the suit. Ultimately, the final decision was Attorney General Eric Holder's, but there was general agreement to proceed.

On the top end, this could mean nearly $100 million will be coming out of the pockets of Lance, Weisel and Stapleton. Then, add to that the attorney's fees of say, $10 million and it's starting to sound like real money even to these guys. Of course, $100 million is the top end but even if they only get a judgment for, say $30 million, it's still a significant amount of money to all those involved.


  1. Larry says he feels justice will have been served if BigTex ends up where he would have been had he not created this big fraud - a smart-ass punk in Plano, TX, probably working in a supermarket or bike shop. Meanwhile Landis might have the dough to pay back his supporters from his fraud - sadly a few of the very folks who will lose big-time if the Feds succeed in the whistleblower case. If Tex ends up broke and Landis ends up with a few million left over, think HE might help out his old friend, contrary to what Tex did for him? The big losers will be Tex' kids and the big winners (as always) will be the lawyers who rake in the big fees in Tex' defense.

  2. Frankly the idea that Landis would end up wealthy all the while being guilty of a largely similar offense makes me ill. When will the many other victims, the guys that were denied their just palmares, be made whole? Never. The real losers here and the ones that should be paid (as you pointed out in a subsequent post) are those that gave up their dreams because they believed they were competing on a level playing field (and not the one Lance used to justify his doping).