White-Collar Crime

Lerach Guilty Plea Allows Him to Keep Millions

Securities class action lawyer William Lerach formally entered a guilty plea yesterday that acknowledges he paid kickbacks to lead plaintiffs.

Lerach faces up to two years in jail and has agreed to pay nearly $8 million in fines and penalties. But the settlement allows him to keep tens of millions of dollars in his share of a $7.2 billion settlement reached in an investor suit against Enron, the Washington Post reports.

The kickback scheme allegedly helped Lerach and his partners earn more than $200 million in fees, prosecutors claim.

After the hearing yesterday, Lerach walked over to prosecutors and shook their hands, the Copley News Service reports. He is the eighth to plead guilty in the kickback investigation.

Lerach was a lawyer with Milberg Weiss, which has also been indicted on kickback charges, before he left to start his own law firm.

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