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Ex-World's Fastest Man Busted In Fraud

Tim Montgomery of the US crosses the line to win his Men's 100 meter heat, at the World Athletics Championships in the Stade de France, Saint Denis, north of Paris, in this Aug. 24, 2003 photo. (AP Photo)
AP Photo
Former 100-meter world-record holder Tim Montgomery was arrested Friday on charges that he was connected to a multimillion-dollar bank fraud and money laundering scheme, prosecutors said.

A grand jury indictment unsealed in New York charged the star sprinter and his gold medalist track coach, Steven Riddick, and 11 other people. Authorities said the group has been under investigation for some time.

The U.S. attorney said all defendants were charged with participating in a conspiracy to defraud banks by depositing about $5 million in stolen, altered or counterfeit checks. Some of the money was laundered through a coffee businesses owned by a New York couple, according to the indictment.

Montgomery, an Olympic gold medalist in the 400-meter relay at Sydney in 2000, is accused of depositing three bogus checks worth a total of $775,000 and picking up a $20,000 fee for brokering the transaction.

The 31-year-old runner also was banned from track and field for two years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport for doping based on evidence gathered in the criminal investigation of BALCO. Montgomery retired in December rather than wait out the suspension. He never tested positive for drugs and maintains he never knowingly took steroids or any other banned substances.

All of Montgomery's performances were wiped off the books as of March 31, 2001. That includes the world record of 9.78 seconds he set in Paris in September 2002. Asafa Powell of Jamaica broke that record with a 9.77-second run in Athens last June 14.

Montgomery, who has a son with Olympic gold medalist sprinter Marion Jones, said BALCO founder Victor Conte served as his nutritionist from December 2000 to June 2001 and told him that all the substances he was providing were legal. But he conceded that Conte could have supplied him with banned substances without his knowledge.

Conte has admitted distributing the steroid THG, which at the time couldn't be detected in tests. That changed when Trevor Graham, former coach for Montgomery and Jones, sent a vial containing THG to USADA that tipped authorities to what some athletes were using.

Meanwhile, a noted scientist in the sports nutritional supplement world pleaded guilty Friday to supplying BALCO with the performance-enhancing drug known as "the clear."

Patrick Arnold pleaded guilty to one count of distributing steroids. He's scheduled to be sentenced in August and will likely face three months in jail and three months of home detention.

So far, the BALCO probe has netted guilty pleas from Arnold, Conte, Bonds' trainer Greg Anderson, BALCO vice president James Valente and track coach Remi Korchemny.