Hell hath no fury like a cyclist’s wrath! Okay, so I took the saying and manipulated it a bit for effect. Poor Lance Armstrong, he is now caught in the Floyd Landis Qui Tam wrath.
For those of you not paying attention to the cycling world, Floyd Landis was an American cyclist who won the 2006 Tour de France. After his victory he was disqualified and stripped of his title because he was busted for doping (using performance enhancing drugs). Landis disputed the charges of cheating for years, but finally came clean and admitted to doping in May 2010. That effectively killed his biking career.
So what did Landis then do? He turned in his golden boy yellow Live Strong rubber bracelet clad teammate, Lance Armstrong, and all the rest of his team for doping too. Not only did Landis rat everyone else out, but he filed a qui tam/whistleblower case as well.
Last week the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it intends on intervening in that false claims act case. This is an extremely bad sign for Mr. Armstrong. The lawsuit is called United States ex rel. Landis v. Tailwind Sports Corporation, et al. An interesting point to the intervention is that the DOJ only wants to go after Tailwinds corporately, Armstrong personally and one other offender. They are not interested in all the smaller, less important player-cyclists involved in the compliant. It will be interesting for me to watch Landis' qui tam attorney struggle with the obligation of dealing with the defendants with whom the DOJ does not wish to go after.
Another question I initially had was: how does a private cycling team get caught up in a qui tam scheme? Qui tam, by definition, means you took money or at least tried to take government money which you didn't deserve. What did the Armstrong team do to hustle the US Government into giving them money? The US Attorney let us know in their press release. They stated “Lance Armstrong and his cycling team took more than $30 million from the U.S. Postal Service based on their contractual promise to play fair and abide by the rules – including the rules against doping . . ." Obviously they've all now admitted as much. So it is just a matter of time before Armstrong's whole organization crumbles.
If you know of someone doing or trying to steal from the government give us a call. LaBovick Law Group offers to give you a free evaluation to help qui tam relaters.