Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Article in the Wall Street Journal -- Securities Lawyer Lerach Is Set to Plead Guilty, by Nathan Koppel. Here's an excerpt:
Noted securities lawyer William Lerach is set to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy in the criminal case involving his former law firm, now called Milberg Weiss LLP. A plea agreement calling for a one- to two-year prison term could be announced as soon as today, according to people familiar with the investigation.
The case, brought last year in federal court in Los Angeles, alleges Milberg Weiss paid $11.3 million in improper kickbacks to clients. Two now-former partners of the firm were indicted at the time. Mr. Lerach, as well as his former colleague Melvyn Weiss, have been under investigation but haven't been charged.
Mr. Lerach once led the field of securities class actions, in which investors who suffer losses typically claim executives misled them about a company's financial condition. The lawyer became a lightning rod for critics who claim plaintiffs securities lawyers flood a company with papers until it agrees to a settlement, regardless of the merits of the claim. Mr. Lerach, 61 years old, has defended the suits as a way to keep corporate America accountable.