Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Lerach to Plead Guilty

Famed class action attorney William Lerach is set to plead guilty in Los Angeles to one count of conspiracy related to payments to representative plaintiffs in cases filed by his former firm, Milberg Weiss.  The long-running investigation of the firm has picked up steam in the past few months as former name partner David Bershad entered a guilty plea that outlined how he maintained a cash fund drawn from contributions from other Milberg Weiss partners that was used to make secret payments to the plaintiffs.  In late August, Lerach announced his retirement from his new firm, Lerach Coughlin, in which he acknowledged "my mistakes" and said that the investigation would end soon, which apparently it will for him (see earlier post here).  According to a Bloomberg article (here), the plea agreement does not include a cooperation provision, which likely means Lerach will not be called on to testify against the firm or another former named partner who remain under indictment.  The agreement calls for a prison sentence of one to two years and an $8 million fine.  A key question now is whether prosecutors will bring a case against Melvyn Weiss, who along with Lerach has been the recent focus of the federal investigation.  (ph)

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Fraud, Legal Ethics, Prosecutions | Permalink

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