All that money the US Postal Service spent to sponsor Lance Armstrong's cycling team? The Justice Department wants it back, and more. It filed a lawsuit against the cyclist and his company last night, just as its deadline to do so was about to expire. Armstrong's doping was, the lawsuit claims, a breach of contract with the USPS, and by lying about it to the USPS, he defrauded the agency and was "unjustly enriched." From 1998 to 2004, the USPS sponsored the team to the tune of about $40 million—and the government is seeking triple damages under the False Claims Act. CNN reports that could translate into a $100 million payout, should the government be able to prove it was both defrauded and damaged.
The government's lawsuit is part of a whistleblower lawsuit brought by former Armstrong teammate Floyd Landis, which the government had previously promised to join, the AP reports. The response from Armstrong's lawyer: "The US Postal Service benefited tremendously from its sponsorship of the cycling team. Its own studies repeatedly and conclusively prove this. The USPS was never the victim of fraud. Lance Armstrong rode his heart out for the USPS team, and gave the brand tremendous exposure during the sponsorship years."