Thursday, September 30, 2010

The UCI Caught Lying About Contador

Okay, I need to quit posting about cycling fraud and get back to some of my academic fraud research. Before doing so, I want to point out this article on VeloNation which discusses how the UCI lied yesterday about Contador's positive test. This makes the UCI look as corrupt as Floyd Landis and others are accusing them of being. It appears that the UCI is simply the marketing arm of pro cycling and is all about creating the image that the athletes are not doping (as opposed to stopping doping). It's no wonder the French doping authorities don't like the UCI's anti-doping efforts!

Floyd Landis says that Armstrong and his teams paid the UCI to give his teams preferential treatment and even sweep drug findings under the rug. As I mentioned in a recent post, they admitted to giving Astana extra notice before being tested, etc. Read this article for the latest lies from the UCI.

I (along with other readers who have emailed me) predict that Contador's positive test will be found by the UCI to be so small that it must have come from a burger he ate. As such, Contador will keep his yellow jersey.

If so, I have little or no hope that pro cycling will ever be a sport that I follow because I admire the athletes. Instead, I will follow it because I study fraud.

We will see...

Update on Lance's Podium Finishers

Remember the post that analyzed Armstrong's podium finishers and showed that most of them have been shown to be dopers? Given the news on Contador's doping, the graphic I used on that post has been updated courtesy of one of the followers of doping in cycling. Check it out.

More Doping Cases Coming to Light in Pro Cycling

I have a feeling that the next few months will be filled with news about doping in Pro Cycling. The NY Times and other news agencies are reporting that Jeffrey Novitzky's investigation is getting closer to Lance's inner circle all the time. This is the typical fraud investigation process.

Best practice in any fraud investigation is to start interviewing those who are most distant from the suspect but who may be able to give you information to build on. Start with people who can tell you about Lance but are not close to him any more--Floyd Landis, Betsy Andreu, Lance's former wife, Kristin, etc. Then you gradually get closer and closer, gathering facts and testimony along the way. By the time you get to the inner circle, you have a lot of evidence in the way of testimony and, perhaps, hard evidence such as documentation, that you can hold over the heads of the people you are talking to. Imagine

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Contador Found Doping at 2010 Tour de France

This one is hot off the press. VeloNation is reporting that the yellow jersey winner, Alberto Contador, tested positive back in July when he was racing in the Tour de France. Apparently, the tests and re-tests have been going on behind the scenes and the news just became public. Contador's spokesman is saying that Contador believes the banned substance must have come from something he ate. Sound familiar? This is the modus operandi for pro cyclists when they are caught doping. Most deny it like Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton and Ullrich and Basso and...In any case, Alberto may be the second Tour de France winner to have his title taken away from him. Disappointing for sure but not at all surprising...

Bell California City Officials Arrested

This graphic from the NY Times about says it all! This tiny town of about 38,000 people fell victim to a greedy Mayor, City Manager, Police Chief and five other individuals who are alleged to have turned the "city into their personal piggy bank" according to the Times article. The article also explains that the group of eight individuals took high salaries and got illicit loans all in return for attending meetings that lasted a few minutes or were not held. Apparently, Bell (a suburb of LA) is a working class city that is overwhelmingly Hispanic. Most of the residents live below the poverty line. This makes the greed even more tragic as the residents went without needed services or gave up money needed for basic living expenses because these individuals couldn't control their greed. The residents are starting to feel a bit better now that these eight individuals have been arrested. Some won't be happy unless they are all locked up and the key is thrown away. Can you blame them?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How Should Madoff's Victims Be Compensated?

The government has an insurance fund that covers broker-dealer accounts known as the Securites Investors Protection Corp. (SIPC). The SIPC generally covers victims' losses up to $500k. As such, victims who had more than $500k invested with Bernie Madoff, will receive $500k from the SIPC plus the law allows for recovered assets to be divided among the victims based on a weighted average of their actual funds over $500k that they had deposited with Madoff.

There are two groups of victims in a Ponzi scheme such as that run by Madoff: net winners and net losers. The net winners took out more money than they put in. Under the current rules, this group gets nothing when a Ponzi scheme collapses and they may be asked to give some of their assets back to the net losers in what is known as a "clawback."As for the net losers, they are covered by SIPC and get a share of the recovered assets.

Some victims of Madoff are saying that they should be entitled to recoup what Bernie's statements showed they had in their account. In other words, suppose they put in $500k and never took any out. If they had the money with Bernie for, say, a dozen years or so, it would have supposedly grown to about $2 million. Now, these victims would love to get the SIPC to give them $500k and then to get some share of the recovered assets based on the additional $1.5 million that Bernie said was in their account. Under the current rules, they will get $500k and nothing else.

The question some lawmakers are asking is whether this is fair? Apparently, a few of our esteemed representatives in Washington don't think so. The WSJ reported recently that Rep. Paulk Kanjorski (D., Pa.) "would pursue changes to require the SIPC to fulfill claims of customers based on the account statements they received from failed broker-dealers." Well, I'm afraid the good Senator is confused about where money comes from. He must think the government can just print some up and give it to these victims without it hurting anyone else. Let's consider the options.

Monday, September 27, 2010

What do Arnold, Floyd, Lance, Johan & George have in common?

That is, Arnold Schwarznegger (Governor of California and body builder), Floyd Landis, Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel, and George Hincapie. Check out their jaw and chin bones.

A reader sent me some pictures along with this excerpt from Wikidpedia about human growth hormone:
"Prolonged GH excess thickens the bones of the jaw, fingers and toes. Resulting heaviness of the jaw and increased size of digits is referred to as acromegaly. "
Do any of their jaw / chin bones look unusually thick? I'm not sure what you can conclude but they don't look thin to me. Maybe that isn't too surprising for a body builder or a retired cyclist who has put on a few pounds. However, Floyd, Lance and George are all pretty lean in these pictures.

See what you think...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Alexi Grewal: Comeback is Planned by the Confessed Doper

Remember Alexi Grewal? VeloNews has an article about his planned comeback into pro cycling at the age of 50. Grewal won the Olympic gold medal for the road race at the 1984 Olympics. (However, another pro who is racing in his mid-50s beat him that year as Colorado's Best All Around Racer. I'll let the readers figure out who that was.)

In 2008, Grewal wrote an essay (also published on VeloNews) and confessed to doping during most of his cycling career. He even admitted that his first time doping was as a junior when he raced against Greg LeMond. I found the following statement in his essay on doping especially interesting:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lance Armstrong Investigation: PED Allegations Against 2009 Astana Team

I had a reader send me a link to an article on CyclingNews that discusses an investigation against Astana during the 2009 Tour de France. Racing for Astana in 2009 was Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and, overall winner, Alberto Contador. The CyclingNews article states that French authorities have...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lance Armstrong Investigation: McIlvain's Testimony

Stephanie McIlvain is reported to have met with the Grand Jury investigating Lance Armstrong's use of performance enhancing drugs. According to an article on VeloNation, McIlvain's attorney said that McIlvain told the Grand Jury that she had "no personal knowledge of Lance Armstrong using or taking performance-enhancing drugs." (As a side note, I wonder what definition they are using for the phrase "no personal knowledge." Does she have any impersonal knowledge? This reminds me of President Clinton's statement that it depends on how you define the word 'is.') McIlvain is also reported to have said that Greg LeMond's recordings of her talking about Lance's discussions in the hospital room were "gossip sessions that just weren't true." At the same time, Lance is saying that there was no conversation about doping in the hospital.

In the end, it sounds like McIlvain has taken her stand. If she is lying, she is gambling that Novitzky won't be able to prove she is. If McIlvain's testimony is the truth then it implies that Greg LeMond, Frankie Andreu and Betsy Andreu are all lying about this. Also, adding Lance's claim that there was no conversation implies that Frankie and Betsy are lying about two things: 1) that the conversation existed and 2) that Lance admitted to using PEDs and LeMond is lying about his conversation with McIlvain.

Time will tell whether Novitzky gets enough evidence to prove which of these individuals will serve time for perjury. Perhaps he won't be able to put any of them in jail and we will be left knowing only one thing for sure: someone is not telling the truth.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lance Armstrong Investigation: What's It Doing to His Image?

VeloNation has an interesting article discussing the effects of Jeffrey Novitzky's doping investigation on Lance Armstrong's image. The article cites data from the marketing firm, Zeta interactive, that shows Armstrong's image has been suffering lately. In particular, his popularity rating has dropped from 92% in 2008 to the low to mid 50% range this summer. Here is a quote that sums up Armstrong's position:

"He's flirting with 50-50," said Zeta Interactive CEO Al DiGuido, according to the Associated Press. "For someone trying to build themself as a brand, that's not a good place to be."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lance Armstrong Investigation: Remember the Actovegin Incident?

Last year, Actovegin (an extract of calf blood) received some press as Tiger Woods was, allegedly, using it along with HGH. Actovegin has been in the news again as NY Daily News is reporting that a Russian cross country skier was found with the substance.

Interestingly, Actovegin has been around for some time. In fact, Lance Armstrong's U.S. Postal team was caught throwing away Actovegin wrappers in 2000 and, the team's manager, later admitted that the team used Actovegin. Of course, he stated that none of the Tour de France riders were using it, even though the team was caught discarding the wrappers in France during the tour. Supposedly, one of the team mechanics was using it for diabetes. After they were accused of this, it took the team a year to come up with this story...Hmmmm...Anyone want to buy some beach front property in Nevada?

One interesting thing about the latest news about Actovegin is what Mr. PED dealer himself, Joe Papp said about it. Papp is the guy who had 184 customers including pro and amateur masters cyclists buying EPO and other PEDs from him (see this prior post for more information). Here are a few quotes from the NY Daily News article that I found of interest:

Friday, September 17, 2010

Betsy Andreu Opens Up to VeloNation

A few weeks ago, we mentioned that Betsy Andreu, wife of former Lance Armstrong teammate Frankie Andreu, was cooperating with Jeffrey Novitzky in Novitzky's investigation of Lance Armstrong.  VeloNation has scored an exclusive interview with Betsy, and the interview is a must read for anyone following the Lance Armstrong doping investigation.  Among other thing, Betsy talks about her motivation for cooperating with Novitzky, the backlash she and her husband have faced, and where she sees the investigation leading.  Here are a few quotes from the interview I found particularly interesting.  Check out the full interview at VeloNation.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lance Armstrong Investigation: What Is Novitzky Up To?

The Novitzky prosecution team has been hush hush for some time now but a few bits of information of what they are up to came out today.

First, we learned that Stephanie McIlvain is expected to testify to the Grand Jury. McIlvain is the Oakley rep who was in the hospital room when Frankie and Betsy Andreu say they heard Lance admit to his doctor that he used EPO and other doping agents. I already expected that McIlvain would be asked to testify but the NY Times article also gave some information about the recorded conversation between McIlvain and Greg LeMond. The article says that "LeMond asks McIlvain if she would tell the truth about what she heard in the hospital room if a lawsuit between LeMond and Armstrong ever arose" and McIlvain said:

Monday, September 13, 2010

New Cases of Doping in Cycling

VeloNews is reporting today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency is about to release the names of "15 to 25 masters, elite and pro cyclists" who have been notified of violations because they allegedly conspired with a former pro cyclist, Joe Papp. The article explains that Papp pleaded guilty earlier this year to distributing HGH and EPO to 187 customers, including cyclists, and implies that Papp entered a plea arrangement and may be providing information on his customer list in order to obtain leniency.

Relatedly, last week, we learned in several news reports that a 41 year old amateur racer, Duane Dickey, was given a lifetime ban for refusing to submit to a doping test. Dickey was found to fail a test years earlier and his refusal this year constituted his second violation. Apparently, Dickey was one of Papp's clients and Papp is now leading the authorities to other clients. Interestingly, Dickey was not a very successful amateur but still was found doping. This suggests doping in cycling may be among the amateur ranks.

The article also says that Papp indicated on Twitter that a pro cyclist in the top 5 at one of the stages in the Tour of Utah this year was doping. The top five at that stage included: Levi Leipheimer, Francisco Mancebo, Ian Boswell, Darren Lill and Phil Zajicek. Levi Leipheimer was also named in the Lance Armstrong investigation when Floyd Landis made his claims earlier this year.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lance Armstrong Investigation: What We May Learn in the End

Note: Fraudbytes encourages contributions from readers. The following post is from a guest contributor, Reed Dempsey.

As findings from Jeffrey Novitzky’s investigation come to light, there are several things that I expect to come out. Here is a short list of potential findings.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Lance Armstrong Investigation: Expert Says No Doubt He Took EPO

If Jeffrey Novitzky and his legal team are looking for an expert witness to appear before the Grand Jury and give his opinion on whether Lance Armstrong took EPO while riding for U.S. Postal, he may want to consider Dr. Michael Ashenden. Ashenden is one of the scientists who designed the tests used to detect EPO and has gone on record as saying:

Saturday, September 4, 2010

U.S. Justice Department May Join The Fun in the Lance Armstrong Investigation

The WSJ reported today that Floyd Landis filed a whistleblower lawsuit under the Federal False Claims Act. This act encourages whistleblowers to report when the government has been defrauded. Similarly, I blogged before that the recently passed Dodd-Frank bill also encourages whistleblowers for cases subject to litigation by the SEC. As it turns out, whistleblowers are the number one way that fraud is detected and the government has decided to reward whistleblowers for coming forward. In this case, if the government sues Lance or the former U.S. Postal Team for fraud and is able to collect then Floyd will get 30% of the money. Of course, Landis will have to hire a legal team to make his case so government incentive is justified in my view.

Predictably, the reaction from the Armstrong PR campaign was twofold: First, why is the U.S. government spending money investigating a philanthropist athlete who races his bike on foreign soil. Second, this shows that Floyd Landis is a money grubbing liar like we've been saying all along. However, the Justice Department may not be listening. Here is why.

Friday, September 3, 2010

More on Lance Armstrong's Podium Finishers

This post is a follow up to a post from August 9th, 2010, where I discussed the eight podium finishers who joined Lance Armstrong in 2nd and 3rd place in the Tour de France during Lance's glory years of 1999-2005 (see this link). A reader commented about a similar analysis by Bicycling Magazine's Bill Strickland and found on the NBC Sports' website and I wanted to make you aware of Strickland's analysis.

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