Sprinter's friend details scheme in book

In a new book, a friend of Tim Montgomery details the check-writing scheme he masterminded and passed onto the sprinter and his then-girlfriend Marion Jones that landed both the track stars in jail.

In his self-published book to be released next month, "Broken Silence of the Elite," Laushaun Robinson writes that he told Montgomery how to write bad checks to bilk money from an account in New York, a scheme the author said netted more than $5 million.

In the book, and in an interview with The Associated Press, Robinson said Jones, who had a child with Montgomery in 2003, was more than a small part of the check-writing scheme, even though her plea agreement was for lying to federal investigators about her knowledge of Montgomery's involvement, as well as her use of performance-enhancing drugs.

"They wanted to play it out that she was just part of the check scheme involving her child's father, when actually, she played a major role in it because she did deposit the checks knowing they were forged," Robinson said.

Asked about Robinson's claim that she was more involved in the check-writing scheme than what she pleaded guilty to, Jones denied knowing Robinson.

"No. I don't know who he is. No comment," Jones said. "There is nothing else to comment on."

Jones' attorneys in the case did not respond to e-mails from The AP seeking comment.

She served six months of prison time, and Montgomery was sentenced to 46 months in prison for his role. He admitted helping his former coach, Olympic champion Steve Riddick, and others cash $1.7 million in stolen and counterfeit checks. Montgomery also received a five-year sentence for a later conviction of dealing heroin.

Robinson said he first met Montgomery while the sprinter was going to school at Norfolk State.

Robinson, already serving time in prison on unrelated charges at the time the checks were being written, wrote that Montgomery and his friends took the check-writing plan past what he had told them to do, which led to their arrest.

He wrote that Montgomery asked him for help getting out of his legal trouble but that he wouldn't lie for Montgomery -- instead telling him to work out a plea deal with prosecutors. Robinson wrote that he was interviewed by prosecutors who were going after the sprinters.

Robinson, who served seven years in prison for heroin distribution and a subsequent parole violation, also details plans by Jones and Montgomery to create and market a new shoe in 2004, even though they were under contract with Nike.

Montgomery ran the 100 meters in a world-record 9.78 seconds in 2002 -- a record wiped from the books after he was banned from track for two years for doping linked to the BALCO investigation. He never tested positive for drugs, but he retired in December 2005 after the ban was imposed.

Montgomery also is working on a book.

Jones was released from jail last year. In her first post-jail interview, on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" last October, she said she did lie to prosecutors, but said she thought the substance provided to her by coach Trevor Graham was flaxseed oil, not the designer steroid "the clear."

The 34-year-old Jones is playing this season for the Tulsa Shock in the WNBA.

Robinson said Jones got off easy, while Montgomery, who testified against Jones as part of his plea agreement, paid the heavier price.

"Truth be told, she knew everything she was involved in," Robinson said.