Thursday, March 20, 2008
Melvyn Weiss agreed to plead guilty to a federal racketeering charge and acknowledge that he and others concealed secret payment arrangements that Milberg Weiss had with named plaintiffs in class action lawsuits. The plea agreement calls for a sentence of between 18 and 33 months. Weiss also agrees to forfeit $9.75 million in ill-gotten gains and to pay a criminal fine of $250,000. Previously, former Milberg Weiss partners William Lerach, David Bershad and Steven Schulman pleaded guilty to their involvement in the secret kickbacks scheme. There are two remaining defendants in the case -- the law firm itself and Paul Selzer -- scheduled to go on trial in August.
Milberg Weiss issued a press release stating its deep disappointment that it learned that Weiss had engaged in misconduct and that it had previously believed former leaders' assurances of their innocence.