SAN FRANCISCO – LAWFUEL – Law News Network – U.S. Atto…

SAN FRANCISCO – LAWFUEL – Law News Network – U.S. Attorney Kevin V. Ryan announced that world-class cyclist Tammy A. Thomas, 36, was indicted today on three counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice. Ms. Thomas allegedly gave false testimony while under oath to a grand jury investigating the distribution of performance-enhancing drugs from Balco and the laundering of the proceeds from the distribution of those drugs. These charges are the result of an investigation by IRS-Criminal Investigation and the FBI.

U.S. Attorney Kevin V. Ryan stated, “Perjury undermines the fundamental mission of our investigative and judicial processes – to uncover the truth. Lying under oath to a grand jury must be vigorously prosecuted, or else this essential truth-finding mission is significantly undermined.”

According to the indictment, Ms. Thomas lied to the grand jury when testifying that she never took performance enhancing drugs. Ms. Thomas allegedly also lied when testifying that she did not receive any performance-enhancing drugs from Patrick Arnold, the creator of the undetectable steroid tetrahydrogestrinone, also known as “THG,” or “The Clear.” Ms. Thomas was suspended for life from cycling competition by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for doping violations.

“The investigation into doping in sports has generally unfolded in three distinct stages,” U.S. Attorney Ryan continued. “In the early stages of the investigation, the individuals who distributed steroids to some of the nation’s top-flight athletes were indicted and convicted. In the second stage, we developed the evidence to indict and convict the creator of the undetectable steroid THG distributed through Balco. A third stage has begun as we bring charges against individuals who lied to investigators or committed perjury while testifying under oath to a federal grand jury. Our investigation into each of these stages will continue as the evidence develops.

“Our priority in this case, as with our other drug distribution cases, primarily has been to target the distributors, manufacturers, and those who would lie to investigators or under oath to a grand jury. Individual users will be scrutinized, however, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, and the respective doping regulators for each sport also have the purview of disciplining individual athletes for their involvement in using performance-enhancing drugs. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to cooperate with those agencies to provide them appropriate information that may be helpful in ensuring fairness in their sports. I thank USADA for its continued cooperation in this investigation,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan.

U.S. Attorney Ryan continued, “To date, the Balco investigation has yielded five felony convictions, exposed the harmful side-effects of doping, and has shined a light on the surprisingly widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports. Since the initiation of the investigation, more than 15 athletes have been disciplined by regulators in their various sports. Congress has held extensive hearings on steroids in sports, including taking testimony from Major League Baseball players, and has classified Norbolethone and THG as Schedule III drugs. The U.S. Sentencing Commission has toughened federal sentencing guidelines for steroids-related offenses.”

IRS-Criminal Investigation Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Diane Carter stated, “We can’t turn a blind eye to the use of performance enhancing drugs and the money laundering associated with it. When you lie or mislead investigators regarding the use or distribution of illegal steroids, those actions will be aggressively pursued by the IRS as well other law enforcement organizations and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

U.S. Anti-Doping Agency Chief Executive Officer Terry Madden stated, “Unfortunately it is true that athletes who are willing to cheat sport through doping are also willing to cheat the system by lying, according to these allegations. This indictment sends a strong message that such conduct is wrong and will not be tolerated. USADA will continue to cooperate with U.S. Attorney Kevin V. Ryan in the Northern District of California and with law enforcement authorities nationwide, to protect both clean sport and the integrity of the process that sanctions those athletes who choose to cheat.”

A summons has been issued for Ms. Thomas to appear before Magistrate Judge James Larson on January 5, 2007, at 9:30 a.m.

The maximum statutory penalty for each count of perjury, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1623(a), is five years in prison, three years supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. The maximum statutory penalty for the count of obstruction of justice, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1503, is ten years in prison, three years supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

An indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Ms. Thomas must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Matt Parrella, Jeff Nedrow and Jeff Finigan are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Rawaty Yim and Brenda Hodgen. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by IRS–Criminal Investigation.

Further Information:

A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.

Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.

Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s website at www.cand.uscourts.gov.

All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Luke Macaulay at (415) 436-6757 or by email at [email protected]

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