Floyd Landis reaches deal with prosecutors over Floyd Fairness Fund fraud charges
Man stripped of 2006 Tour de France title avoids jail by promising to repay donors to his defence fund
Floyd Landis, the man who succeeded Lance Armstrong as Tour de France champion in 2006 only to be stripped of that title after failing a doping control, has struck a deal with federal prosecutors over allegations of fraud.
The news was revealed on the same day that it was confirmed that Armstrong, his former team leader at US Postal Service, is himself set to lose his seven Tour de France titles and faces a lifetime ban from sport.
Landis had denied doping, fighting the charges against him through an arbitration process with the help of more than $1 million raised from supporters via The Floyd Fairness Fund.
In May 2010, however, he publicly confessed to having taken drugs throughout his career, including during the 2006 Tour de France, leading to him being charged with having solicited those donations fraudulently.
ESPN reports that Landis will appear before a judge in San Diego, California, today to be arraigned on a count related to that charge but that under an agreement he has reached with the US Attorney’s Office, provided he can repay donors within three years, the charge will be dismissed.
Landis will not have to repay the full amount since some donors may choose to waive repayment – indeed he confirmed that several large donors had already indicated they would do so – but the agreement does depend on his being able to earn an income during the period.
According to ESPN, had Landis not reached agreement with prosecutors, he could have faced up to 20 years in jail, a $250,000 fine, and would still have been liable to repay his donors in full.
“I'm glad to have a concrete procedure for repayment in place," commented Landis.
"For me, taking the step of making restitution to the donors who were misled back then is one more step in righting the wrong choices I made and allows me to turn the page and to focus on what's next in life for me.
"I can never undo what happened, but to the extent that there are ways such as this that I can try to rectify things, I'll be more able to focus on the future and living an honest life after having done them."
The allegations Landis made of systemic doping at US Postal led to a Federal Grand Jury investigation being opened against Armstrong and other members of the team.
While that investigation was shelved earlier this year, USADA continued to pursue its own case against Armstrong, culminating in the announcement last night from the former cyclist that he had decided not to seek arbitration.