The New York based law firm of Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman was indicted in Los Angeles yesterday for twenty years of activities, including a conspiracy to give kickbacks to lead plaintiffs in securities class-action cases. It is alleged that the fraud included payment of over $11 million in kicbacks, disguised as referral fees or other legitimate payments.
Included in the charges are conspiracy, racketeering, mail fraud, money laundering, and filing false tax returns. Melvyn Weiss, a co-founder of the firm, is not named as a defendant, but partners David Bershad and Steven Schulman are.
The firm and the government had been having talks about a deferred-prosecution agreement in order to avoid criminal charges. Lawyers said a deal could not be finalized because of a disagreement on a waiver of attorney-client privilege and allowing the government access to privileged internal records.
The law firm has set up a website regarding the charges: www.milbergweissjustice.com.