Olympic Gold Medalist Marion Jones-Thompson Guilty of Making False Statements

LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and SCOTT N. SCHOOLS, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of California,
announced that MARION JONES-THOMPSON, 31, of Austin, Texas,
pleaded guilty today to charges of making false statements to
federal agencies in connection with two investigations conducted
out of the Southern District of New York and the Northern
District of California, respectively. JONES-THOMPSON pleaded
guilty before KENNETH M. KARAS, United States District Judge for
the Southern District of New York, to a two-count Superseding
Information filed earlier today. According to the Superseding
Information and other documents filed in Manhattan, White Plains
and San Francisco federal court, as well as statements made
during today’s guilty plea proceeding:
An elite, professional track and field athlete, JONESTHOMPSON’S
achievements include winning five medals while representing the United States, including three gold medals, at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

JONES-THOMPSON 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 and JONES-THOMPSON’s former track coach. 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. (“BALCO”).

The New York Investigation:
Co-conspirators orchestrated a scheme to defraud numerous banks out of millions of dollars by laundering stolen,
altered and counterfeit checks by depositing those checks into
various bank accounts they controlled, among other methods. The
investigation has resulted in the convictions of over 20
individuals in this and related cases, including MONTGOMERY,
RIDDICK, and CHARLES WELLS, the former sports agent for JONESTHOMPSON

Instances of the fraud include a counterfeit check for $850,000 deposited in April 2005 into a business account controlled by NATHANIEL ALEXANDER, a friend and officemate of RIDDICK’s. 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, which check JONES-THOMPSON then deposited into a bank account she maintained.

ALEXANDER was convicted on May 10, 2007, of bank fraud, bank
fraud conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy charges
following a jury trial before Judge KARAS. 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.

An agent of the New York Office of the Department of
Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”)
and 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 fraudulently stated that she had no knowledge of MONTGOMERY’s involvement in a counterfeit check fraud scheme.

In her plea today, JONES-THOMPSON admitted to having made the false statements knowingly and willfully.

The California Investigation:
A federal criminal investigation commenced in the
Northern District of California in 2002, concerning a scheme to
distribute anabolic steroids and other illegal performanceenhancing
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 TREVOR
GRAHAM, who coached professional and Olympic track and field
athletes, including JONES-THOMPSON from approximately 1997 to
2002. 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 and
GRAHAM, including 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
and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District
of California executed a letter-agreement which provided that any
statements JONES 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, JONESTHOMPSON
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 GRAHAM, and that she had never used
any performance-enhancing drug. In her plea today, JONESTHOMPSON
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 admitted that 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.

JONES-THOMPSON faces a maximum sentence of 5 years in
prison for each of the two false statements counts in the
Superseding Information, for a total of 10 years. The sentencing
has been scheduled for January 11, 2008 before Judge KARAS.
Mr. GARCIA stated: “Deceiving federal agents in the
course of their investigations disrupts and impedes the proper
administration of justice and is a serious matter. Even if the
truth is eventually uncovered, the lies throw investigators off
track, waste time and resources, and create a real risk of a
miscarriage of justice.”

Mr. SCHOOLS stated: “The federal government will
vigorously prosecute individuals who provide false statements to
its agents. Individuals who lie to federal agents interfere with
the government’s ability to investigate criminal conduct and
undermine the efficiency of government investigations.”
PETER J. SMITH, Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York
ICE Office, said, “MARION JONES-THOMPSON lied to agents during an
important financial investigation. The potential harm from the
check fraud conspirators reflects greed and the exploitation of
our financial systems. Today’s plea is an example of ICE’s
commitment to identify and bring to justice those who would
challenge the security of these systems, and I want to thank all
of the special agents who worked the investigation that
culminated in these arrests.”
“Providing false information to the government is a
federal crime. Ms. JONES-THOMPSON’s guilty plea proves the
seriousness of this crime, and demonstrates the commitment of the
IRS Criminal Investigation Division to finding the truth,” said
SCOTT O’BRIANT, Special Agent in Charge for the IRS’ Oakland,
California Field Office. “The message should be clear, when you
lie or mislead investigators for any reason, as in this case
involving the use of illegal steroids, those actions will be
aggressively pursued.”

Mr. GARCIA praised the work of ICE in the investigation
of the New York case, and Mr. SCHOOLS 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,
Jose Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the
Northern District of California, are in charge of the California
investigation and prosecution.
07-242 ###

(212) 637-2600

Scroll to Top