Landis Versus Armstrong: This Is So Rich

You may recall that these two world-class dopers engaged in a war of words, accusations and denials beginning in 2010 when Landis came out accusing Armstrong of doping during his Tour victories of 1999 to 2005.

Tour de FranceHere are the highlights: Floyd Landis won the Tour de France in 2006. Afterward he, inconveniently, tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs (PED). In 2007, Landis began a campaign of denials and established a fundraising campaign called the Floyd Fairness Fund which raised nearly $500,000 in order to defend against these “unsubstantiated doping allegations.”

In 2010, in a significant turn of events, Landis admitted to doping during his tour victory. The federal government took umbrage with his having falsely enticed people to contribute to his defense fund and indicted him for wire fraud. In 2012, Landis entered into a plea agreement with the Feds to resolve his criminal case. However, being an intrepid opportunist, he had filed a civil case against Armstrong in 2010 under the federal False Claims Statute.

The False Claims Statute allows a whistleblower to bring a civil suit against someone who has committed a fraud. The civil suit is generally sealed and investigated by the US Attorney to determine if they will intervene on behalf of the whistleblower. If the U.S. Attorney intervenes and recovers money from the perpetrator of the fraud the whistleblower is entitled to a percentage of the recovery.

We all recall that Armstrong went on Oprah in 2013 and confessed to doping on national television in a calculated move for damage control of the doping scandal. With his national confession in hand, the US Attorney’s office in 2013 intervened in the Landis false claim case on behalf of the Postal Service which had paid Armstrong’s team some $32 million between 2000 and 2004. The Postal Service asserted they would not have supported a team of dopers had they known.

The civil suit seeking $100 million from Armstrong was set for trial the week of May 7th this year in Washington, DC. Armstrong entered into a settlement agreement before trial. In it Armstrong agreed to pay the Postal Service $5 million. As the whistleblower, Landis, our confirmed doper who was on the Postal Service team with Armstrong at the time the doping occurred, received 22% of the settlement ($1.1 million). In addition Armstrong was required to pay Landis $1.65 million towards his legal expenses.

It was reported that Landis intended to use nearly $500,000 of the money he received from Armstrong to repay the restitution he owed to his supporters who had contributed to the Landis Fairness Fund. How rich!

Both Armstrong and Landis vehemently denied allegations of doping only to later confess to it. Both were stripped of their Tour de France titles and became the poster children for doping in the sport from which they both profited. The NY Times estimated in 2012 Armstrong’s net worth was $125 million. Perhaps Landis got the last laugh here. As they say, the truth is often stranger than fiction.

Source: Naples Daily News article by Brent Schrotenboer, April 21, 2018

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Jim Dodson
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A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.
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