MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, and JOSEPH P. RUSSONIELLO, the
United States Attorney for the Northern District of California,
announced that MARION JONES-THOMPSON, 32, of Austin, Texas, was
sentenced today to six months in prison for making false
statements in connection with two separate federal
investigations. The sentence was imposed by United States
District Judge KENNETH M. KARAS in federal court in White Plains,
On October 5, 2007, JONES-THOMPSON pleaded guilty
before Judge KARAS to a two-count Superseding Information.
According to the Superseding Information and other documents
filed in federal court in Manhattan, White Plains, and San
Francisco, as well as statements made during JONES-THOMPSON’s
JONES-THOMPSON was an elite, professional track and
field athlete, whose achievements include winning five medals,
including three gold medals, while representing the United States
at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. JONESTHOMPSON
lied to New York federal agents investigating a
sprawling check fraud/money laundering scheme involving, among
others, TIMOTHY MONTGOMERY, a former Olympic gold medalist and
100-meter record holder, and STEVE RIDDICK, a 1976 Olympic gold
medalist. Additionally, JONES-THOMPSON falsely denied to federal
officials in California that she had taken performance enhancing
drugs, and made other false statements, during their
investigation into the activities of Balco Laboratories, Inc.
The New York Investigation
Co-conspirators orchestrated a scheme to defraud
numerous banks out of millions of dollars through, among other
means, the deposit of stolen, altered and counterfeit checks into
various bank accounts they controlled. The investigation has
resulted in the convictions, in this and related cases, of more
than 20 individuals, including MONTGOMERY (with whom JONESTHOMPSON
had a romantic relationship), RIDDICK (who was JONESTHOMPSON
and MONTGOMERY’s former coach), and CHARLES WELLS, the
former sports agent for JONES-THOMPSON and MONTGOMERY.
As part of the fraud, in April 2005, NATHANIEL
ALEXANDER, a friend and officemate of RIDDICK’s, deposited a
counterfeit check for $850,000 into a business account he
controlled. The co-conspirators then sought to distribute the
proceeds of the $850,000 counterfeit check, in part by issuing a
check for $25,000 from ALEXANDER to JONES-THOMPSON.
JONES-THOMPSON then deposited the check into a bank account she
RIDDICK and ALEXANDER both were convicted on May 10,
2007, of bank fraud, bank fraud conspiracy, and money laundering
conspiracy charges following a jury trial before Judge KARAS.
Late this afternoon Judge KARAS sentenced RIDDICK to 63 months in
prison and ALEXANDER to 46 months in prison.
Additionally, in May 2005 MONTGOMERY deposited a
counterfeit check for $200,000 into a business account he jointly
controlled with JONES-THOMPSON. JONES-THOMPSON and MONTGOMERY
(who resided together at various times between 2002 and the
summer of 2005) executed documents to add JONES-THOMPSON as a
signer on MONTGOMERY’s business account several days before he
deposited the check.
On April 9, 2007, MONTGOMERY pleaded guilty to
conspiracy to commit bank fraud and two counts of bank fraud.
His sentencing has not yet been scheduled.
An agent of the New York Office of the Department of
Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”),
as well as other Government officials, interviewed JONES-THOMPSON
on August 2, 2006, and September 5, 2006, at the United States
Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. During
the interviews, JONES-THOMPSON made the following false
statements and concealed the following material facts:
(a) on August 2, 2006, JONES-THOMPSON falsely stated
that she was unaware of a $25,000 check ALEXANDER had made out to
her, which she had endorsed;
(b) on August 2, 2006, and September 5, 2006,
JONES-THOMPSON falsely stated that she was unaware MONTGOMERY had
received any large checks in 2004 or 2005, including the $200,000
counterfeit check; and
(c) on August 2, 2006, and September 5, 2006,
JONES-THOMPSON falsely stated that she had no knowledge of
MONTGOMERY’s involvement in a counterfeit check fraud scheme.
In her October 2007 guilty plea, JONES-THOMPSON admitted to
having made the false statements knowingly and willfully.
The California Investigation
In 2002, federal authorities in the Northern District
of California began a criminal investigation into a scheme to
distribute anabolic steroids and other illegal
performance-enhancing drugs, and the related money laundering of
the proceeds, by BALCO, a California corporation located in
Burlingame, California, which performed blood-testing and other
functions. While investigating BALCO, the investigation
developed information regarding the drug distribution activities
of individuals associated with Olympic track and field athletes,
and eventually led to JONES-THOMPSON. The investigation
subsequently expanded to include, among other things, whether
various witnesses had made false statements during interviews
with federal agents.
On September 3, 2003, a federal search warrant issued
by a United States Magistrate Judge in the Northern District of
California was executed at the BALCO premises in Burlingame,
California. Among other things, investigators obtained evidence
concerning JONES-THOMPSON and her relationship with BALCO,
including evidence regarding her receipt and use of drugs they
provided. The Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation
Division (“IRS-CID”), San Jose Office, was the lead investigative
agency throughout the course of the California investigation. As
part of that investigation, on November 4, 2003, a Special Agent
of IRS-CID, along with another Government official, interviewed
JONES-THOMPSON. Prior to the interview, JONES-THOMPSON and the
United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of
California executed a letter-agreement which provided that any
statements JONES-THOMPSON made during the interview would not be
used against her in connection with any prosecution, except under
limited circumstances. The letter-agreement specifically stated
that JONES-THOMPSON was not immunized from prosecution for making
false statements during the interview.
During the interview on November 4, 2003,
JONES-THOMPSON made false statements and concealed material facts
by fraudulently stating that she had never seen or ingested a
performance-enhancing drug known as “the clear,” that she had
never received the drug from her coach, and that she had never
used any performance-enhancing drug. In her October 2007 plea,
JONES-THOMPSON admitted that she had taken such drugs for
approximately a year, beginning prior to the 2000 Olympic Games.
She stated that, while she did not realize at the time what she
was using, she realized by the end of 2003 that she had been
given performance-enhancing drugs by a previous coach, and that
she acted knowingly and willfully when she falsely denied, in
2003, having used such substances.
In addition to the prison term, Judge KARAS sentenced
JONES-THOMPSON to two years of supervised release and ordered her
to serve 400 hours of community service in each year. She was
ordered to surrender on March 11, 2008.
Mr. GARCIA stated: “As this conviction and sentence
demonstrate, lying to federal agents is a serious crime with
Mr. RUSSONIELLO stated: “In order for the criminal
justice system to work, citizens who provide information to
federal agents must tell the truth. Those who lie or obstruct
the process will be prosecuted and should suffer serious
consequences. The conviction and sentence in this case
reinforces that guiding principle of our legal system.”
Mr. GARCIA praised the work of ICE in the investigation
of the New York case, and Mr. RUSSONIELLO praised the
investigative efforts of the IRS-CID in the California case.
The New York investigation and prosecution is being
handled by the Major Crimes Unit of United States Attorney’s
Office for the Southern District of New York. Assistant United
States Attorneys E. DANYA PERRY and DANIEL W. LEVY are in charge
of the case.
Assistant United States Attorneys JEFFREY D. NEDROW,
JEFFREY R. FINIGAN, and MATTHEW A. PARRELLA, Chief of the San
Jose Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the
Northern District of California, are in charge of the California
investigation and prosecution.