Tim Montgomery Pleads Not Guilty to Fraud

Olympic gold medalist Tim Montgomery pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges that he was connected to a multimillion-dollar bank fraud and money laundering scheme.

Montgomery and his lawyer, Robert McFarland, declined to comment following a brief appearance before U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Karas. Montgomery remains free on $150,000 bail.

Montgomery's travel will be limited while he awaits trial along with his gold medalist track coach, Steven Riddick, and 11 others.

They were accused in a conspiracy that deposited $5 million in stolen, altered or counterfeit checks over three years at several banks.

The 31-year-old Montgomery, the former 100-meter world record holder, had surrendered last week in Norfolk, Va. He wore a dark suit, a red tie and rubber-soled shoes to court Wednesday.

Earlier, Montgomery sat in court and watched as an alleged co-conspirator, Ephraim Richardson, pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

Richardson did not name Montgomery but admitted conspiring with others to defraud a bank.

His lawyer, George Goltzer, said federal sentencing guidelines call for a prison range of four to 10 months. Richardson, who already has spent three months in jail, will be sentenced on July 13.

The government has accused Montgomery of participating in a plot created by a two other defendants who set up sham businesses to take checks stolen from banks and alter them or make counterfeits.

Montgomery allegedly deposited three bogus checks worth a total of $775,000. He also was accused of helping his coach, Riddick, deposit others worth at least $905,000 and accepting a $20,000 fee for his role.

Riddick, a 1976 medalist, has remained free on bail and maintained his innocence since his February arrest.

Montgomery retired in December after he was banned from track and field for two years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport for doping. That action was based on evidence gathered in the criminal investigation of BALCO, the lab at the center of a steroid scandal in sports.

He never tested positive for drugs, and has said he never knowingly took any banned substances.

All of Montgomery's performances after March 31, 2001, were wiped off the books, including his world record dash of 9.78 seconds in 2002. Montgomery won his gold medal in the 400 relay at the 2000 Olympics.

He also separated from Olympic gold medalist Marion Jones, the mother of his child.