Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
D.C.
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Mass.
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
N.Carolina
N.Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
S.Carolina
S.Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
W.Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Law Firm Website Design Companies : The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Kickback Case: Retired Lawyer Sentenced

  Court Watch  -   POSTED: 2008/01/29 19:01

A retired attorney who pleaded guilty in a lucrative kickback scheme involving class-action lawsuits against some of America's largest corporations was sentenced Monday to six months home detention and two years probation. Federal prosecutors have said 80-year-old Seymour Lazar was paid about $2.6 million to be a professional plaintiff and help the prestigious law firm now known as Milberg Weiss in its pursuit of the lawsuits.

Authorities said the firm made an estimated $250 million over two decades by filing such legal actions.

Seven people, including three former partners at the firm, have pleaded guilty in the case. Lazar was the first to be sentenced. He also was fined $600,000.

U.S. District Judge John F. Walter said he was outraged that a former attorney could "flatly lie" as part of legal proceedings.

The lack of respect for the legal system amounted to the "absolute height of arrogance," the judge said, adding that he would not have hesitated to send Lazar to prison if not for his age and deteriorating health. Lazar could have faced up to 18 years in federal prison.

Wearing a dark blue suit with a knitted sweater draped across his shoulders, presumably for extra warmth, the frail-sounding Lazar said he understood Walter's concerns but felt he had already been punished for his wrongdoing.

"I have been under investigation for seven or eight years and it has been seven or eight years of hard time," Lazar said. "That's all I can say."

With the judge's consent, Lazar remained seated throughout the hearing.

Lazar pleaded guilty in October to obstruction of justice, subscribing to a false tax return and making a false declaration to the court.

Walter said he spent the weekend thinking about a suitable sentence for Lazar, worrying that a noncustodial term would send a message that wealthy defendants can buy their way out of confinement.

But ultimately, Walter said Lazar's infirmity made him unsuitable for prison.

Lazar thanked the judge after the sentencing.

"Good luck to you," the judge replied.

Lazar then left the courtroom and was greeted by members of his family.

Lazar has already repaid $1.5 million of the money prosecutors said he was paid as part of the scheme.

The law firm, previously known as Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman, paid $11.3 million in kickbacks to people who became plaintiffs in class-action lawsuits against companies such as AT&T Inc., Lucent, WorldCom, Microsoft Corp. and Prudential Insurance, prosecutors said.

The tactic allowed the firm's attorneys to be among the first to file litigation and secure the lucrative position as lead plaintiffs' counsel, according to court documents.

The 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.

The three former partners who have pleaded guilty are William Lerach, Steven Schulman and David Bershad.

Lerach's high-profile legal victories included a $7 billion judgment against now-defunct energy giant Enron Corp. He pleaded guilty as part of a deal to conspiracy to obstruct justice and make false statements.

Schulman pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge. He agreed to forfeit $1.85 million to the government and to pay a $250,000 fine.

Bershad pleaded guilty to conspiracy and agreed to cooperate with the government.

Firm co-founder Melvyn Weiss has pleaded not guilty to one count each of conspiracy, mail fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice in a revised indictment.

The Milberg Weiss firm itself has pleaded not guilty to two counts of conspiracy and one count each of obstruction of justice and making false statements.


Legal News | Breaking News | Terms & Conditions | Privacy | Law Firm Web Design by Law Promo

ⓒ Breaking Legal News. All Rights Reserved.

The content contained on the web site has been prepared by BLN as a service to the internet community and is not intended to constitute legal advice or a substitute for consultation with a licensed legal professional in a particular case.
   More Legal News
   Legal Spotlight
   Exclusive Commentaries
   Attorney & Blog - Blog Watch
   Law Firm News  1  2  3  4  5  6 
   Lawyer & Law Firm Links
San Francisco Trademark Lawyer
San Francisco Copyright Lawyer
www.onulawfirm.com
Chicago Business Lawyer
Cook County Contract Law
www.rothlawgroup.com
Canton Criminal Lawyer
Canton DUI lawyer
www.cantoncriminalattorney.com
Surry County Criminal Defense Lawyers
Yadkin County Family Law Attorneys
www.dirussolaw.com
Oregon DUI Law Attorney
Eugene DUI Lawyer. Criminal Defense Law
www.mjmlawoffice.com
Palm Beach Construction Law Attorney
Florida Construction Law
Wellington Construction Law
palmbeachconstructionlaw.org
Houston Car Accident Attorneys
Wrongful Death Attorneys Houston
Houston Wrongful Death
New York Adoption Lawyers
New York Foster Care Lawyers
Adoption Pre-Certification
www.lawrsm.com
Indianapolis personal injury lawyer
Brain injury lawyer Indianapolis
www.rwp-law.com
Eugene Bankruptcy Attorney
Bankruptcy Attorney Eugene
willamettevalleybankruptcy.com
   More Legal News  1  2  3  4  5  6
   Legal News Links
  Click The Law
  Daily Bar News
  The Legal Voice
  The Legal Report
  Legal News Post
  Crisis Legal News
  Legal News Journal
  Law Firm Logos
  Eugene Criminal Defense Law
  Attorney Web Design
  Simple Lawyer Web Design
  Law Firm Directory