Page last updated at 21:28 GMT, Friday, 16 May 2008 22:28 UK

US sprinter jailed for bank fraud

Sprinter Tim Montgomery
Montgomery was banned from athletics

US sprinter Tim Montgomery has been jailed for 46 months for his part in a multi-million dollar bank fraud and money-laundering plot.

The ex-100m world record holder and Olympic relay champion pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy charges over a bogus cheque scam in April 2007.

His former partner - the sprinter Marion Jones - was also implicated in the crime.

Montgomery sought leniency, saying his fall from grace was punishment enough.

Being a track star does not somehow disable someone from saying no
Judge Kenneth Karas

"I stood at the top of the mountain and heard the cheers from the people," he said.

"In jail, my status is gone. I am just as human as everyone else."

'Tough day'

But New York Judge Kenneth Karas gave Montgomery the maximum sentence available, urging him to think about the impact of his activities on his children.

"Being a track star does not somehow disable someone from saying no," he said, quoted by the Associated Press news agency.

"I know this is a tough day for you. Think about those kids - that's what's going to help you say no next time."

Prosecutors say Montgomery had a hand in depositing bogus cheques worth $1.7m.

His former partner Marion Jones - also once a darling of the sports world - is already serving a prison sentence for lying about her knowledge of the fraud affair and her use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Montgomery, 33, was banned from athletics three years ago after he was found to have used steroids.

That ban also saw him stripped of his 100m world record title which he won in 2002.

But the BBC's Matthew Price in New York says the sentencing does not spell the end of the controversy surrounding him.

In July he faces charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin.

Sprinter indicted on drugs charge
02 May 08 |  Americas
Drugs athlete Jones goes to jail
07 Mar 08 |  Americas
Marion Jones's fall from grace
11 Jan 08 |  Athletics
Sprinter pleads guilty to fraud
09 Apr 07 |  Americas
US sprinter denies fraud charges
03 May 06 |  Americas

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