Lance Armstrong’s conscience isn't the only thing that may be clean after his confession to Oprah, his bank account may be in danger of being wiped clean as well.
Armstrong has made millions in winnings and endorsements during his cycling career, and there may be a long line of attorneys looking to sue him, because he’s finally admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions during competitions.
Armstrong's former United States Postal Service teammate Floyd Landis is suing him under the federal whistle-blower statute, and Armstrong’s confession may strengthen Landis’ case. The federal government could join Landis’ suit and seek damages of up to $30 million to recover the endorsement money the USPS gave Armstrong’s team, according to documents reviewed by ESPN and the Wall Street Journal. Under the Federal False Claims Act, Armstrong could have to pay triple the amount he earned, which would come to a total of $90 million. Landis could be entitled to as much as a fourth of any money that’s recovered if the lawsuit is successful.
Armstrong may already be trying to settle out of court by offering to pay back some of the USPS endorsement money. CNN reports that a source familiar with the situation says Armstrong is in negotiations to return money so he can avoid litigation.
Attorney Jeff Tilloston watched Armstrong’s confession Thursday night and told CNN, "Plain English, we want our money back. Apologies are nice, but we want ours with the money attached. If he doesn’t return the money, our clients will file suit to force him to return the money,” said Tilloston.
READ MORE: Q&A: What's the lesson in Lance's confession
Tilloston’s client is SCA Promotions, an insurance company that paid Armstrong $12.5 million in bonus money for winning the Tour de France in 2002, 2003 and 2004.
"We paid this guy $12 million because he won a series of seven Tour de France races as a clean rider. He was not a clean rider. And he did not win those Tour de France races. We want our money back," said Tilloston.
The extent of Armstrong’s liability is difficult to estimate right now, but he may be fighting battles in court for years to come.