Olympic champion accused of faking terminal cancer to evade debt

Scandal erupts in Canada as Eric Lamaze, three-time Olympic medalist, allegedly fabricates medical documents to dodge financial liability.

  (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

Canada is gripped by a shocking scandal involving former Olympic champion Eric Lamaze, who stands accused of feigning terminal cancer to evade legal proceedings against him.

Lamaze, 55, is Canada's most accomplished Olympic show jumping equestrian, having clinched three Olympic medals. He faces a substantial £400,000 claim, alleging that he sold three subpar horses to a horse farm in 2010. While he submitted medical documents attesting to his cancer diagnosis, the judge raised doubts about their authenticity.

In his court request, Lamaze asserted that he had been battling brain cancer for several years and even claimed that the disease had spread to his throat. He stated that he was scheduled for surgery on June 11, with his lawyer asserting that Lamaze was diagnosed with brain cancer in November 2017, announcing his retirement in March 2022.

However, the claimant's lawyer questioned the validity of these claims, pointing out that Lamaze had made similar assertions in early 2019, seemingly in an attempt to postpone the hearings. It was revealed that he had participated in competitions on March 13, 14, and 16 in 2019.

Credit: GettyImages / MIKE CLARKE / AFP
Credit: GettyImages / MIKE CLARKE / AFP

Falsified documents

One medical report raised suspicions due to the wording of the doctor's statement, an incorrect address, and an unsubstantiated prognosis. While it alluded to medical issues, no supporting medical documentation was provided. Instead, only photographs of Lamaze's disfigured face post-brain surgery were attached.

The medical report was authored in Dutch and contained a spelling error in the Chirec Delta Hospital's address. It bore the alleged signature of neurosurgeon Dr. Noordin Old Ben Taub, despite the fact that Dr. Ben Taub only speaks French, English, and Arabic.

Another letter dated August 2 claimed that an operation had taken place, purportedly signed by Dr. Benoit Piro from the same Belgian hospital. However, a private investigator hired by Iron Horse visited Dr. Piro, who denied signing the document, categorically declaring it a forgery. Dr. Old Ben Taub also disavowed the signature on the report. An inquiry with the hospital's legal department confirmed that both documents were indeed fraudulent.

Credit: GettyImages / MIKE CLARKE / AFP
Credit: GettyImages / MIKE CLARKE / AFP

The ruling

Judge Kurtz dismissed Lamaze's request for adjournment, stating, "Mr. Lamaze attempted to commit fraud on the court by submitting three counterfeit letters, falsely claiming to be medical reports. He posed as a terminal cancer patient, a grave affront to those who have genuinely battled this deadly disease."

Lamaze's lawyer, who resigned from the case, expressed his shock, saying, "I was appalled when it emerged that the opposing side had evidence of document forgery. In my 43 years as a Canadian lawyer, this is the first instance of such deceit by a client."

He also speculated, "Perhaps I have been ill, but possibly not with cancer."

Lamaze continues to maintain his innocence, and he has been ordered to compensate the farm for court costs while the trial remains in suspension, pending the appointment of a new attorney.

To date, Lamaze has secured three Olympic medals: a gold medal in the individual jumping competition at Beijing 2008, a silver medal in the team competition at Beijing 2008, and a bronze medal in the individual competition at Rio 2016.