Lance Armstrong Settles Fraud Case for $5 Million
As we have previously reported, Lance Armstrong has been battling a dispute with former teammate, Floyd Landis, and the United States Postal Service (USPS) over his illicit use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), which has apparently cost the government millions in undue sponsorship costs. On April 29, 2018, Armstrong agreed to settle the issue for $5 million, although the USPS initially sought close to $100 million. Of that $5 million, Landis is expected to receive $1.65 million.
The stir initially began in 2006, when Armstrong was stripped of his Tour de France title for using PEDs, the news of which came from Landis, who had also been using the enhancers, but was protected by the False Claims Act, otherwise known as the whistleblower law. The conflict did not legally manifest until 2010, when Landis filed a complaint. Three years later, in 2013, the Justice Department joined the suit, just months after Armstrong admitted to using PEDs during an Oprah appearance.
The USPS reportedly paid Armstrong’s team $32.3 million in sponsorship fees and sought to recoup triple its payout. Nevertheless, in 2017 a court found that the USPS did, in fact, benefit from its sponsorship of Armstrong, and that expert testimony could not confidently assert that those benefits were outweighed by Armstrong’s use of PEDs. This validated the opinion held by Armstrong’s lead counsel, Elliot Peters, who provided that he “had exactly the same view of this case forever, which was that it was a bogus case because the Postal Service was never harmed.”
“No one is above the law,” stated acting assistant attorney general, Chad Readler, in a recent press release. He continued, “[a] competitor who intentionally uses illegal PEDs not only deceives fellow competitors and fans, but also sponsors, who help make sporting competitions possible. This settlement demonstrates that those who cheat the government will be held accountable.”