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Attorney Weiss to plead guilty in kickback scheme

Prominent attorney — and for years many a company's nightmare — Melvyn Weiss agreed to plead guilty to racketeering in a kickback scheme involving payments to plaintiffs in class-action lawsuits targeting some of the largest U.S. corporations, federal prosecutors said Thursday. Weiss, 72, also will acknowledge that he and others concealed secret payment arrangements that his firm, Milberg Weiss, had with named plaintiffs in the lawsuits, prosecutors said in a statement. Under a plea deal, he could be sentenced to up to 33 months in prison and pay $10-million. His firm dominated the industry in securities class-action lawsuits, which involve shareholders who claim they suffered losses because executives misled them about a company's financial condition. Of special interest: Some of the allegations of kickbacks refer to "Florida plaintiffs" who received cash payments to serve as name plaintiffs in 60 or more lawsuits for the firm. The federal indictment says Weiss indicated that because the law firm would be paying these plaintiffs in cash, there would be no paper trail and therefore there was little risk they would ever be caught.

Attorney Weiss to plead guilty in kickback scheme 03/20/08 [Last modified: Thursday, March 20, 2008 8:13pm]
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