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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Lawyer Weiss Deserves 33-Month Term for Scheme, Prosecutors Say

Lawyer Weiss Deserves 33-Month Term for Scheme, Prosecutors Say
Bloomberg by Edvard Pettersson

May 24 (Bloomberg) -- Melvyn Weiss, co-founder of securities law firm Milberg, should serve the maximum 33-month prison sentence allowed under his plea agreement for illegally paying clients to file shareholder complaints, prosecutors said. The government believes a 33-month sentence is "necessary and appropriate,'' because Weiss continued paying illegal kickbacks after he knew that the firm was under investigation and he tried to obstruct investigators by not providing subpoenaed documents, prosecutors said yesterday in papers filed in federal court in Los Angeles. Weiss, 72, pleaded guilty on April 2 to one racketeering conspiracy charge. He became the fourth name partner of the New York firm, previously called Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman, to plead guilty in a nine-year investigation. Former partner Bill Lerach was sentenced to 2 years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy.

"A sentence that is greater than 33 months would tend to create an unwarranted and impermissible disparity, particularly given Weiss's more advanced age and more substantial philanthropic activities as compared with Lerach,'' Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Axel said in the sentencing memorandum. Prosecutors claim the firm reaped $251 million in fees from cases in which the lawyers illegally paid clients to file suits. U.S. District Judge John F. Walter is scheduled to sentence Weiss on June 2. Benjamin Brafman, Weiss's lawyer, asked in a filing for a sentence of no more than 18 months, the low end of his plea agreement, with at least half of it served in home confinement or community service.

Weiss's Supporters

More than 250 people wrote letters on Weiss's behalf, Brafman said. They include legal scholars, lawyers, family members, former UBS PaineWebber Inc. Chief Executive Officer Joseph Grano Jr. and former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt Jr. "I mourn, from the bottom of my heart, his present situation,'' New York University law professor Arthur R. Miller, who has known Weiss for 25 years, said in his letter to Walter. "It is like watching a brother in continuing pain -- the end of his professional career, lost stature and dignity, the deprivation of certain philanthropic activities, and now the prospect of incarceration.'' The case is U.S. v. Milberg Weiss, 05-587, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles). To contact the reporter on this story: Edvard Pettersson in Los Angeles at


Anonymous said...

if anyone knew what he was doing, it is Mel Weiss. Mel always figured he was smarter than everyone else with his hubris and arogance. He did the crimes now he should do ALL THE TIME!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

this mutt Mel Weiss is a disgrace. Lock him up and throw away the key and I don't care who his fancy friends are.

Anonymous said...

he cheated and stole money --- he is an attorney and certainly knew what he was doing --- he corrupted a great many other people along this process --- let him rot

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See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:

               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
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