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Former Milberg partners sentenced in kickback case

By Chris Rizo | Oct 28, 2008

LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline)-Former partners of the plaintiffs' firm Milberg LLP who were indicted for paying clients kickbacks in shareholder lawsuits were sentenced Monday to federal prison.

Attorneys for David Bershad requested a probationary sentence, citing their client's poor health and help to prosecutors, but instead U.S. District Judge John Walter sentenced him to six months in federal prison.

Attorney Steven Schulman was also sentenced by Walter to half a year behind bars.

The judge also ordered Bershad, 68, to pay a $250,000 fine in addition to the $7.75 million he has already forfeited. Schulman, 57, has forfeited $1.8 million in ill-gotten gains and also must pay a $250,000 fine.

Bershad and Schulman are former law partners of Melvyn Weiss and William Lerach, who are already serving time for their roles the conspiracy to pay clients to file shareholder class-action lawsuits against U.S. corporations.

The famed firm targeted such corporations as AT&T Inc., Lucent, WorldCom, Microsoft Corp. and Prudential Insurance through lawsuits claiming their clients suffered a loss because corporate executives misled them about a company's financial condition.

The claims that brought in $251 million in attorney fees for their firm, then called Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP. Weiss and Lerach are serving 30-month and 24-month federal prison terms, respectively, for their role in the conspiracy.

The law firm settled claims against it by agreeing to pay a $75 million fine.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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