Two of Lance Armstrong’s Co-Defendants in Whistleblower Lawsuit Agree to Settlement
In 2010, a former teammate of Lance Armstrong’s filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the team, alleging that Armstrong defrauded the federal government by accepting funding through the United States Postal Service, and claiming that there was no doping occurring during training or competitions.
Former cycling teammate Floyd Landis brought the whistleblower lawsuit forth in 2010, alleging that Armstrong defrauded the US government by doping while under contract with the US Postal Service as one of his sponsors during the Tour de France. Armstrong was sponsored by the US Postal Service during many of his Tour de France wins, and he claimed the entire time that he was not using performance-enhancing drugs.
Finally, during an interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier this year, Armstrong broke down and admitted that he had used performance enhancers while cycling on behalf of the US government with US taxpayer dollars.
Now, two of the co-defendants in the case – Bill Stapleton, Armstrong’s agent for decades, and Barton Knaggs, Armstrong’s long-time business partner – have agreed to settlements with the US government. They each agreed to $500,000 to settle with the federal government and dismiss the whistleblower lawsuit, and then agreed to a $100,000 each with Landis’s attorney.
“The settlement agreement would require the dismissal of the action against the Settling Defendants, which, under the False Claims Act, requires the written consent of the Attorney General of the United States,” the government stated in court documents. “The United States will require time to review the proposed settlement agreement, acquire necessary additional information from (Landis) and Settling Defendants, evaluate whether the settlement terms are in the interest of the United States, inform the officials within the Department of Justice who have authority to act in the circumstances, and obtain the necessary authorization to state the Government’s position regarding the proposed settlement.”
Earlier this year, in April, Armstrong listed the names of fellow teammates and coaches who knew about his doping, and in some cases even encouraged him to continue despite anti-doping regulations.
Whistleblower Protections and Medicare Fraud Claims
“Qui Tam” are the first words of a Latin clause referring to the plaintiff as “one who sues as much for the state as for himself or herself.”
It is a provision of the Federal Civil False Claims Act that allows a private citizen to file a suit, in the name of the U.S. Government, charging fraud by government contractors and other entities that receive or use government funds. Bolstered by amendments passed by Congress in 1986, the law has armed private citizens who have independent and direct knowledge of fraud, whether financial institution fraud or Medicare fraud, with a weapon to prosecute government contractors and others who are defrauding the Government.
Common whistleblower actions include:
- Medicare fraud,
- defense contractor fraud, and
- other kinds of fraud against state or federal government
Qui tam lawsuits have been, and continue to be, a very effective and successful tool in combating government procurement and program fraud.
The Strom Law Firm Protects Whistleblowers in South Carolina
If you have direct knowledge of fraud against the government and believe you have a qui tam or whistleblower case, whether it is against a for-profit long term care facility, a technology corporation, or financial institution, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. We offer free, confidential consultations so you can discuss the facts of your case. Contact us today. 803.252.4800