Indicted Milberg Plaintiff, Howard Vogel Sentenced
Milberg Settlement Forthcoming
For his role in the firm's decades long, multi-million dollar plaintiff kickback scheme, mortgage broker Howard Vogel has received a sentence of three months in prison
. Vogel plead guilty back in 2006 and served as a witness in the prosecutions case against Milberg Weiss and former Milbergattorney, Bill Lerach. For more on Vogel's connection to the case see here
Labels: Howard Vogel, kickbacks, Milberg
$75 million is rumored number.
Milberg Kickbacks, A Victimless Crime?
The trial is set for August, but it seems increasingly likely we won't get there.
Labels: kickbacks, Milberg, Milberg Weiss, settlement
Milberg in Settlement Talks
Lerach Writes Own Ticket on Sentencing (UPDATE - He Gets 2 Years)
Not so, says Michael Perino of St. John's University School of Law
Perino, in a paper sponsored by the trial lawyer-loving fellas over at the American Enterprise Institute
, compared 730 settlements negotiated by Milberg and found that those alleged to involve kickbacks actually saw a lower return to shareholders by a small but measurable percentage.
On the whole, Milberg collected some $25o million in legal fees on cases involving the kickbacks.
In addition to some interesting commentary on the impact of Milberg's illegal acts on the firm's clients, the paper also offers a pretty darn good re-cap of the kickback investigation and prosecution.
You can read Perino's The Milberg Weiss Prosecution: No Harm, No Foul right here.
Labels: kickbacks, Michael Perino, Milberg, settlement
Bill Lerach has requested a one year prison term
Prosecutors Seek Two year Term for Bill Lerach
, half of that to be spent at home. Prosecutors have been aiming for something more like two years. Specifically, "The federal probation office recommended a sentence of 15 to 21 months, two to three years of supervised release and a fine of $4,000 to $40,000."
The penalty would stem from Lerach's guilty plea on one count of conspriacy in relation to the governments investigation into plaintiff kickbacks paid by Lerach's former law firm, Milberg Weiss. Milberg co-founder Melvyn Weiss along with attorney Paul Selzer have both maintained their innocence and face trial later in the year.
SENTENCED: The final numbers are 2 years in prison, 250,000 fine, 1,000 hours of community service. Lerach is expected to surrender himself for incarceration in April
Labels: Bill Lerach, kickbacks, Lerach, Melvyn Weiss, Milberg, Milberg Weiss, Paul Selzer
Seymor Lazar Sentenced
Sentencing recommendation: two years in the clink, $250,000 fine, two years probation. This in response to Lerach's prior guilty plea on one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and make false statements. February 11th will tell the tale.
Labels: Bill Lerach, kickbacks, Lerach, Milberg, sentencing
Milberg Fires Back With Dismissal Motion
Seymour Lazar, the 80 year old attorney - and serial securities plaintiff - who plead guilty in the Milberg kickback case has received his sentence
- six months home detention and two years probation. He was also fined $600,000. Lazar is the first to be sentenced in the Milberg probe.
Lazar has also already repaid $1.5 million, which amounts to what he was allegedly paid by Milberg Weiss in exchange for acting as a re-occurring lead plaintiff in the firm's securities class actions. Milberg stands accused (and seven people have already plead guilty in connection with) distributing $11 million in kickbacks to individuals they called upon to routinely serve as lead plaintiff in their cases.
Labels: Bill Lerach, kickbacks, Lerach, Milberg, Milberg Weiss, Seymour Lazar
Schulman Sues Milberg over Legal Bills
Five motions, actually - in five days. All attempting to pick away at the government's case against the firm. Similar moves from the firm in the past haven't found much success with U.S. District Judge John Walter, who is presiding over the kickback trial of the mega-plaintiff firm. Better luck this time? We'll see. Details on the most recent Milberg motions can be found at Law.com.
Labels: dismissal, kickbacks, Milberg, Milberg Weiss, trial
On the Seymour Lazar Guilty Plea...
The former partner at Milberg Weiss claims that the firm agreed to cover his legal bills subsequent to his guilty plea on the federal kickback case pending against the firm. Schulman has also sued Bill Lerach's former spin-off firm, Coughlin Stoia. More from Peter Lattman at the WSJ Lawblog.
Labels: Coughlin Stoia, kickbacks, Lerach, Milberg Weiss, Steven Schulman
Milberg Kickback Defendant, Seymour Lazar, Cops a Plea
Mel Weiss Pleads Not Guilty, Has Not Yet Begun to Fight
Melvyn Weiss Makes Bond
It is in. Reuters has details
. Sentencing will be January 28th, if the 80 year old Lazar makes in that far. Because of his age and relatively poor health, probation rather than jail appears to be in his future. Lazar has also agreed to forfeit $1.5 million and a fine of up to $600,000.
Labels: kickbacks, Milberg, Milberg Weiss, Seymour Lazar
FT Looks at the "Fallen Angels" of the U.S. Plaintiffs Bar
He is currently free on $1 million bond and is, at a hearing today, expected to plead innocent to a variety of charges stemming from the government's investigation into kickbacks offered to Milberg clients. Weiss is facing four counts of conspiracy, racketeering, obstruction of justice and making false statements and could serve up 40 years based on the charges.
A trial is scheduled for January, where Weiss along with will co-defendants Seymour Lazar and attorney Paul Selzer, will get a chance to defend themselves against federal prosecutors' ever-expanding case. The Lazar and Selzer indictments kicked of a renewed push in the government's years-long investigation of Milberg Weiss. Lazar and Selzer were a multi-time Milberg plaintiff who purportedly received kickbacks from the firm.Further details on the Melvyn Weiss trial
can be found via Reuters... and of course, for past coverage from The Daily Caveat
, try the tags below.
Labels: kickbacks, Melvyn Weiss, Milberg, Milberg Weiss, Paul Selzer, Seymour Lazar
Melvyn Weiss Steps Down, Indictment Expected Today
Interesting, some might say apologist, perspective from the Financial Times
on the embroglio surrounding Messers Weiss and Lerach.
Labels: Bill Lerach, FTI Consulting, kickbacks, Melvyn Weiss, Milberg Weiss
The word is out on the Mel Weiss indictment.
Melvyn Weiss Indictment Expected
Milberg issued a statement late yesterday indicating that, in anticipation of a revised indictment expected to be filed in short order (via the New York Observer
"Milberg Weiss understands that a second superseding indictment will be issued tomorrow that will include new charges against the Firm and also Melvyn Weiss. Mr. Weiss has decided to discontinue his participation in Firm management in order to focus on the defense of the charges against him. The Firm’s other partners, none of whom is alleged to have been involved in any wrong doing, will be responsible for its management and litigation activities. Mr. Weiss will remain available to counsel clients and Firm attorneys. The Firm remains proud of Mr. Weiss’s and the Firm’s accomplishments over the years and will continue to fight for its clients and class members and to produce the excellent results for which it is known. We do not anticipate any interruption in our work and we look forward to putting this difficult period behind us."
It has been reported
that the recent zeroing in on Weiss is the result of information obtained following the plea agreement of former Milberg lawyer, Steven Schulman. Over at CNNMoney,
Roger Parloff's Legal Pad blog has the Shulman plea agreement
linked if you want to review it for your own speculations. See Defendants Obligations
sub 18 for notes on Schulman's cooperation with authorities.
Labels: indictment, kickbacks, Melvyn Weiss, Milberg, Milberg Weiss
The WSJ law Blog has details
Lerach Plea Deal in the Works?
and a statement from Milberg Weiss on the upcoming, revised kickback indictment, which is expected to include charges against Milbeg Weiss patriarch, Melvyn Weiss.
And as usual, at the WSJ Law Blog, half the fun is in the comments.
Labels: indictment, kickbacks, Melvyn Weiss, Milberg, Milberg Weiss
Bill Lerach Retirement Date Announced
, which I've mentioned before as a blog to watch, has details on a supposed plea agreement that Bill Lerach
is said to have been working out with federal prosecutors. Similar insinuations have come from the WSJ alongside the formal announcement of Lerach's August 31st retirement date. That Lerach had been in conversation with prosecutors is not exactly news, but the idea that a plea deal is close to done is certainly interesting stuff. The next few weeks will tell the tale... In the meantime, here's another Lerach retrospective from The UK's Independent
Labels: Bill Lerach, kickbacks, Lerach, plea agreement
WSJ's Lattman Muses Over the Future of a Lerach-less Lerach Coughlin
In a statement released earlier in the week
the firm of Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins announced that effective August 31st they would be dropping "Lerach" from their name. This move signals the expected retirement of firm co-founder and big gun (arguably the biggest gun in class action litigation), William S. Lerach.
Bill Lerach has spend the last year or so increasingly dogged by the results of a federal investigation into he and his former colleagues at plaintiff firm Milberg Weiss. After seven years of digging the probe heated up this year as authorities turned up the heat on key witnesses like former Milberg lead plaintiffs; retired entertainment attorney, Seymour Lazar and and the colorful eye doctor, art dealer and insurance fraudster, Steven Cooperman.
Since then we've seen indictments, resignations and, just perhaps, the end of an era. Lerach has yet to be indicted himself and may never be, but he remains one of the biggest fish in the case and - no doubt - the one prosecutors were looking to land all along. Amid all the speculation over whether an indictment of Lerach would be forthcoming murmers started about a potential retirement, one that might spare his current firm should Lerach be prosecuted.
It appears that August 31st will be the date
Lerach, with typical brass, had this to say, “I have appreciated the opportunity to fight for the victims of corporate fraud. However, I realize that my success has made me a target,” Mr. Lerach said in a statement. “These allegations have proven to be personally time-consuming, and I have decided to focus single-mindedly on putting the matter behind me once and for all.”
Labels: Bill Lerach, kickbacks, Lerach, Milberg, Milberg Weiss, Seymour Lazar, Steven Cooperman
Is that wistfullness I hear?
Milberg Hearing Sees 3 Counts Dismissed, 20 to Go
As always with the WSJ Lawblog, half the fun is in the comments.
Labels: Bill Lerach, indictment, kickbacks, Lerach, Milberg, Milberg Weiss
Ideoblog Milberg Paper Gets NYT Coverage
Well, mail fraud looks to be out, but on the key question about whether or not the alleged kickbacks did any harm to Milberg's clients, the judge came down in favor the the government's case stating that the harm from these actions was "forseeable" and actual harm need not be proven. More on Milberg at the WSJ law blog
For additional notes on recent Milberg-related happenings, see Lyle Roberts' 10b-5 Daily
, which as you covered.
Labels: kickbacks, Milberg Weiss, Seymour Lazar, Steven Schulman
Update onf Defense Filings in the Milberg Kickback Indictment
Motion(s) on the Milberg Indictment
A few weeks back we made reference to an upcoming paper on the Milberg kickback prosecution co-authored by Ideoblog's Karry Ribstein. The Wall Street Journal has a story on the still-to-be published law review article. Details (where else?) at Ideoblog
Labels: Ideoblog, kickbacks, Milberg Weiss, WSJ
LA TImes Recaps the Milberg Investigation
Several defendants in the Milberg kickback case have filed motions challenging the legitimacy of the charges against them, most particularly those charges relating to "honest services fraud." Federal prosecutors have just filed their first response to these dismissal motions. As you might imagine, they intend for the charges to stick. Details at Law.com.
Labels: Bill Lerach, indictment, kickbacks, Milberg
Milberg's David Bershad Pleads Guilty on Kickback Charges
Missed a few details along the way? The LA Times has you covered, courtesy The China Standard
. Of course, all you need to do is hit some of the tags below for The Daily Caveat to get you caught all the way up.
Labels: Bill Lerach, kickbacks, Milberg Weiss
Milberg's Schulman Continues to Battle Charges Against Him
Formerly a name partner at embattled plaintiff firm, Milberg Weiss, David Bershad has plead guilty on conspiracy charges
stemming from the Justice Department's seven year long investigation into business practices at his former firm.
Word on the street for the last few weeks had been that Bershad had started dealing
and that a plea deal was imminent. Coincidentally or not, this talk of a Bershad cutting a plea occurred simultaneously with the leak about Bill Lerach's planned retirement.
Whatever the other undisclosed terms of Bershad's deal might be, we know that Bershad will forfeit $7.5 million, pay a $250,000 fine and - most importantly - cooperate with prosecutors in their ongoing investigation.
The Feds are still working on landing the big fish - Bill Lerach and Melvyn Weiss. This move by Bershad definitely puts the hooks a bit closer than they were just a week ago.
Labels: Bill Lerach, David Bershad, kickbacks, Melvyn Weiss, Milberg, Milberg Weiss
Lerach and Weiss Turned Down Plea Agreement in Kickback Probe
Steven Schulman, one of the former Milberg Weiss partners facing charges in the ongoing probe of the firm, continues to pursue the dismissal of charges against him. While his former firm talks plea deal, Schulman has expanded his motion seeking a dismissal of charges against him.
His most recent filing addresses the charge of "honest services fraud" arguing that the government's definition is vague and arbitrary. Schulman is also attempting to pick apart the charges of mail fraud and failure to perform his fiduciary duty. Whether he's successful, we'll know in time. Law.com has further details on Schulman's legal maneuverings.
Labels: class action, indictment, kickbacks, Melvyn Weiss, Milberg, Milberg Weiss, securities, Steven Schulman
Lerach Partner Confirms Retirement By Year's End
So says the Los Angeles Daily Journal. Reportedly Melvyn Weiss and Bill Lerach, the federal government's two biggest targets in their kickback probe of Milberg Weiss lit igation practices, both turned down a potential plea agreement that would have seen them each serve three to four years in prison. For further details, start with this post from CNNMoney's Roger Parloff
and from there you can get to the original article.
Labels: Bill Lerach, kickbacks, Melvyn Weiss, Milberg Weiss, securities
Lerach Retirement - The Speculation Continues
Well there it is...
"I anticipate that Bill will retire before the end of the year," said Patrick Coughlin, a co-founder of the San Diego-based Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP.
Labels: Bill Lerach, kickbacks, Milberg
Bill Lerach Calls it Quits
The New York Times continues to ponder
what exactly we can discern from the purported retirement of famed plaintiff attorney, Bill Lerach
. The bane of the Overlawyered
set, Lerach made his name at securities class action juggernaut, Milberg Weiss. After a falling out with Milberg's founder Melvin Weiss, Lerach broke out on his own in 2004 four.
Obviously the last few months haven't been stellar for Milberg, what with partners under indictment and a firm-wide investigation ongoing into the use of kickback payments to compensate lead plaintiffs for participating in the firm's class actions. Speculation is well under way that Lerach's departure may mean that the seven year investigation into his former firm is finally catching up to him.
While no one in the know
is talking just yet, the NYT speculates that a Lerach resignation could be a signal of a looming deal with federal prosecutors, one that would spare his firm should indictments start raining down. For sure, deals are being thrown around left and right
at the moment, but none so far that seem to favor Lerach.
Last week, former Milberg partner David Bershad struck his own deal with federal prosecutors, pleading guilty to some of the charges against him. The question is, in exchange for what - and whether the second indicted Milberg partner, Steven Schulman follow suit. There is even word that Milberg Weiss is seeking a firm-wide deal
Whatever the outcome, no one is calling any of these maneuverings good
for Lerach and many are linking the dealings to talk of Lerach's retirement...and while the former partners threaten to do each other in, rival securities firms are moving in to pick up the slack
Labels: Bill Lerach, David Bershad, kickbacks, Melvyn Weiss, Milberg Weiss, Steven Cooperman, Steven Schulman
Ideoblog Mulls the Anniversary of the Milberg Indictment
William S. Lerach, one of the most famous litigators in America has called it a day. It has been reported by Fortune magazine that Lerach, the plantiff attorney most famous for representing shareholders of Enron and the mind who launched a thousand class action lawsuits is planning to leave the namesake firm
he founded only three years ago.
Lerach made is name with Milberg Weiss, another lawfirm famous for its work on behalf of aggrieved investors. What happens next for Lerach is anyone's guess - he has yet to even formerly announce his departure but speculation regarding his fate has already begun. Thusfar Lerach has remained largely untouched by the kickback scandal that has engulfed his former colleagues at Milberg Weiss.
Whether that will remain the case is no certain thing. News that indicted former Milberg partner David Bershad is considering a settlement
with federal investigators that would include a guilty plea in exchange for his cooperation does not exactly bode well for Lerach. He is certainly a big fish and federal prosecutors have spent most of the last decade trying to catch him at dirty pool.
Lerach, for his part, has long insisted that prosecutors persistent interest in him is based on politics, not perfidy...
Labels: Bill Lerach, David Bershad, kickbacks, Melvyn Weiss, Milberg Weiss
Typically great commentary
Seymour Lazar, Serial Milberg Weiss Plaintiff, Angles to Avoid Indictment on Grounds of Bad Health
from Larry Ribstein
as he considers the guv'ment's case against Milberg Weiss
one year after the indictment. The post is chock-a-block with additional links for further reading - give it a look at Ideoblog
Labels: Ideoblog, indictment, kickbacks, Melvyn Weiss, Milberg, Milberg Weiss
Milberg Weiss Loses Anti-Trust Team
79 year old Seymour Lazar was indicted in June 2005 by federal prosecutors in hot pursuit of class action giant Milberg Weiss. Lazar was accused of receiving kickbacks from Milberg in exchange for serving repeatedly as lead plaintiff in the law firm's class action suits.
Unlike others in similarly uncomfortable positions, Lazar steadfastly refused to deal or talk. Now, as Lazar's trial is gearing up a series of hearings have been scheduled, and the first already concluded, to determine whether the ailing almost-octogenarian can reasonably withstand the rigors of the courtoom.
For further details on the Lazar trial, check out the New York Sun
In related news, former Milberg partner and one of the individuals named in the firm's "kickback" indictment, Steven Schulman, has asked that the charges against him be dismissed
. Schulman, along with former Milberg partner David Bershad faces charges including conspiracy, mail fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice and tax violation . Schulman requested the dismissal of charges based on the claim that shareholders in lawsuits where lead plaintiffs received kickbacks suffered no actual harm.
For background on all of the above shenanigans, check out the tags below, which will take you to The Daily Caveat's
past coverage of the long in coming Milberg indictment and all the colorful players it involves...
Labels: David Bershad, kickbacks, Melvyn Weiss, Milberg, Milberg Weiss, money laundering, Seymour Lazar, Steven Cooperman, Steven Schulman
J. Douglas Richards
Steven Schulman Out at Milberg
and Michael M. Buchman
(links go to Milberg bios, while they last) are evacuating to Pomerantz Haudek Block Grossman & Gross,
the latest attorneys to jump from the Milberg ship since the kickback-related indictments were announced last year. You can read the Pomerantz press release, here
Labels: indictment, kickbacks, Melvyn Weiss, Milberg, Milberg Weiss, Pomerantz Haudek
Milberg Trial Has a Date, New Charges Teased
He'll be pursing "new opportunities"
including defending himself against the criminal indictment
he's currently facing relating to kickbacks Milberg aledgedly made over the years to their lead plaintiffs who put in repeat performances. Current Milberg partner David Bershad is also under indictment on the same charges.
Labels: David Bershad, indictment, kickbacks, Milberg, Milberg Weiss
Milberg Attorneys Plead Not Guilty on 20 Count Indictment
Federal prosecutors made it known yesterday
that their ongoing probe into class action giant, Milberg Weiss
may yet expand further. The Feds have been doggedly pursuing information on Milberg bad acts for years. They finally hit paydirt with a perfect storm of informants and double-dealers, who provided regulators with details on kickbacks ($11.3 million over the last 25 years) allegedly given by Milberg to regular, repeated lead plaintiffs in its class action cases.
Thus far, indictments have been brought, lawyers have fled, offices have closed and not guilty pleas have been entered and Milberg partners, Steven Schulman and David Bershad are awaiting trial, a trial that now has a date
- January 8, 2008.
The new charges teased reportedly relate to potentially false invoices submitted on behalf of expert witnesses for work that was never performed. One wonders whether such false invoices might also relate to work conducted by outside investigators on Milberg's behalf. While in recent years Milberg had moved much of this work to internal staff, they have been a great and lucrative source of work for investigators for many years.
In related news, Bill Lerach, the famous former partner in Milberg Weiss who a few years back hung out his own shingle, has remained untouched by the case against Milberg. It seems at the present time, in fact, that no additional individuals will added to the prosecutors case. But that hasn't stopped the matter from having an impact.
One has to assume, for example, that the indictment played a role in the request to have Lerach's firm removed
as lead counsel in the ongoing $4 billion class action lawsuit against Haliburton, in favor of David Boies.
Labels: Bill Lerach, David Bershad, David Boies, kickbacks, Lazar, Melvyn Weiss, Milberg, Milberg Weiss
kickback probe continues, this time court-side. Milberg partners, currently on leave, David J. Bershad
and Steven G. Schulman
both made their first appearance in an L.A. court room on Friday. Each was released on $1million bail and scheduled to appear on Monday to enter their respective pleas. Details follow on yesterday's L.A. court proceedings from The Mercury News
. The article is also a decent summary of the happenings to date in the Milberg kickback probe:
Law firm, partners, plead not guilty to federal charges in LA
July 17, 2006
A top class-action law firm and two of its partners pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of secretly paying more than $11 million in kickbacks to get people to take part in shareholder lawsuits. Also pleading not guilty in federal court were Seymour M. Lazar, who is accused of acting as a paid plaintiff in some of the firm's cases, and Paul T. Selzer, who is charged with laundering money on Lazar's behalf.
In a 20-count indictment handed down in May, prosecutors alleged that Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman, along with partners David J. Bershad and Steven G. Schulman, secretly paid Lazar and others since 1984 to act as plaintiffs in class-action suits against major corporations.
Federal prosecutors alleged that secret kickback arrangements allowed the firm to be among the first to file lawsuits on behalf of shareholders and secure the lucrative position as lead plaintiffs' counsel. The indictment also alleged that "the paid plaintiffs purchased the securities at issue anticipating that the securities would decline in value, in order to position themselves to be named plaintiffs in securities fraud class actions and to obtain kickbacks" from the firm and others.
All the individual defendants were in court to enter their pleas except Lazar, who was unable to attend for medical reasons. Bershad and Schulman are on leave from the firm.
The case, which is the result of an ongoing federal investigation, has already resulted in plea deals with two people allegedly involved in the payoff schemes. Retired real estate mortgage broker Howard Vogel agreed in April to plead guilty to one count of making a false declaration before a court and admitted to receiving $2.5 million in kickbacks from Milberg Weiss in connection with class actions in which he was the plaintiff.
Los Angeles attorney Richard Purtich agreed in May to plead guilty to a federal tax offense by acting as an intermediary through which Milberg Weiss paid his former client Steven G. Cooperman more than $2.5 million in fees for acting as plaintiff in several class actions.
The firm denies any wrongdoing. In a statements released after Monday's arraignment, Bershad's attorney, Robert Luskin, said the indictment "is a disgrace and the charges are utterly baseless," and the firm said it is "confident that we will be fully vindicated"...
Read the full Mercury News article here
. And if needbe, catch up on the story by reading some of our past coverage
Labels: David Bershad, Howard Vogel, hulman, kickbacks, Melvyn Weiss, Milberg, Milberg Weiss, money laundering, Steven Cooperman