Lance Armstrong was sued on Tuesday by the US government for sponsor funds he received from team sponsor the US Postal Service.
The lawsuit was filed by the Justice Department late on Tuesday. It brought the case against Armstrong, as well as his company, Tailwind Sports.
The court document explained, “The USPS paid approximately $40 million to sponsor the USPS cycling team from 1998 to 2004.” The government is looking to recover triple the amount of the sponsorship funds under the False Claims Act. Should they win, the settlement could bring a total of $100 million in damages.
The lawsuit against Lance Armstrong is not surprising. The government previously signaled that it would file the action against the former cyclist and Tour de France winner. The complaint names Armstrong, team manager Johan Bruyneel, and Tailwind Sports LLC as defendants.
An attorney for Armstrong was not thrilled with the lawsuit filed by the government. Elliot Peters stated, “The U.S. Postal Service benefited tremendously from its sponsorship of the cycling team. The USPS was never the victim of fraud. Lance Armstrong rode his hear out for the USPS team, and gave the brand tremendous exposure during the sponsorship years.”
But Lance Armstrong was also doping during the sponsorship years, according to the former athlete, who was banned from cycling for life.
The US Department of Justice originally announced in February that it would join in on the lawsuit, filed in 2010 by Armstrong’s former teammate, Floyd Landis. The complaint accuses the cyclist of using at least one prohibited substance or method in connection with his Tour de France wins between 1999 and 2005.
The complaint added, “Moreover, he knew that his teammates were engaged in similar doping practices, and he actively encouraged and facilitated those practices.” The lawsuit by the US government against Lance Armstrong echoes the claims made by Landis that Armstrong and others defrauded the US government by denying doping accusations that were true and continuing with their sponsorship relationship.