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Criminal Justice

A Second Plea in Milberg Probe

Posted Jul 11, 2007 12:29 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Milberg Weiss client admitted in a plea deal yesterday that he received more than $6 million in kickbacks from the law firm to serve as lead plaintiff in securities class actions.

Steven Cooperman, a former Beverly Hills, Calif., ophthalmologist, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction of justice, the Los Angeles Times reports. He offered to tell prosecutors about the kickbacks as he was facing a likely prison sentence of up to 10 years in prison for insurance, tax and wire fraud. He later served 21 months in prison for the fraud conviction.

Cooperman is scheduled to be sentenced in the Milberg case in June 2008.

His plea came a day after former Milberg partner David Bershad pleaded guilty to conspiracy to pay kickbacks and agreed to participate in the ongoing probe. (See this ABAJournal.com post for more information.)

Also indicted in the case are ex-partner Steven Schulman and the law firm itself. Both have pleaded not guilty.

The two pleas increase speculation that name partner Melvyn Weiss and former partner William Lerach could also face charges, the newspaper says.

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