Olympian Riddick convicted in $5 million bank fraud, money laundering


Olympian Steve Riddick was convicted Thursday of conspiracy, bank fraud and money laundering in a scheme with others to steal money from banks by cashing counterfeit checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Riddick left the courtroom in a hurry, tersely saying "absolutely not" to a request for comment and pointing to his lawyer.

His lawyer, Bryan Hoss, said he and his client were disappointed that the jury in U.S. District Court in Manhattan took less than a day and a half to convict him after hearing evidence for three weeks.

The jury convicted three other defendants of at least one charge in the conspiracy.

Riddick, who won gold in a relay race in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, later became an elite professional coach, training Olympic gold medalist Tim Montgomery and Olympic champion Marion Jones, among others.

Bank records indicate Jones was among those who received checks from one of the accounts opened with the fraudulent checks, but she was not charged in the case.

Shortly before the trial, Montgomery pleaded guilty in the conspiracy to cash $5 million in counterfeit checks over a three-year period. He faces 37 to 46 months in prison at a Nov. — sentencing.

Riddick likely faces at least several years in prison at a sentencing scheduled for Oct. 12.

Hoss said Riddick will return for the summer to Norfolk, Va., where he will coach Olympic-caliber athletes, some American and some from other nations.

"This is a case where I told the jury in opening we believe Tim Montgomery had an illicit relationship with some drug dealers and that was the cause of this fraud," Hoss said.

Hoss said Riddick did not know that some checks he deposited into his bank account were fraudulent. He said Riddick paid back about $150,000 he had received improperly from a bank.

During closing arguments, Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Walter Levy told the jury that Riddick deposited into his account checks for $80,000, $375,000 and $450,000 that were supposedly meant to pay for training for Kuwaiti athletes.

Montgomery retired in December 2005 after he was banned from track and field for two years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport for doping. He has said he never knowingly took any banned substances.

Montgomery's track achievements after March 31, 2001, including his world record dash of 9.78 seconds in the 100 meters in 2002, were wiped off the books. He won his gold medal in the 400-meter relay at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Also convicted Thursday of all charges was Nathaniel Alexander, a businessman who shares office space with Riddick in Norfolk.

The others on trial were two New Yorkers, Naresh Pitambar and Roberto Montgomery, who is not related to the track star.

Pitambar was convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud but was acquitted of bank fraud and money laundering. Montgomery was acquitted of all charges except for a minor count of possessing stolen property involving a car.

Prosecutors said the counterfeit-check scheme was the creation of Douglas Shyne and Natasha Singh, a New York couple with a history of fraud.

Both had pleaded guilty, along with several others in the case, some of whom testified at the trial that concluded Thursday.

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