Justice Department officials have recommended joining a federal whistleblower lawsuit aimed at clawing back sponsorship money from former professional cyclist Lance Armstrong, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Justice Department has been weighing the matter since 2010, when the suit was filed by Armstrong’s former teammate Floyd Landis.
All whistleblower suits are kept under seal, and neither the Justice Department nor Landis have acknowledged the suit’s existence or the allegations. However, according to a person who has seen the lawsuit, Landis alleged that Armstrong and team managers defrauded the U.S. government when they accepted money from the U.S. Postal Service.
The Justice Department and Landis declined to comment.
The contract with the Postal Service required that the team refrain from using performance-enhancing drugs. Landis and, more recently, several other former teammates, said in affidavits that Armstrong was at the center of a sophisticated doping ring and knowingly flouted the contract.