A federal judge sentenced Howard Vogel to three months in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release for his receipt of kickbacks in taking on the role of a plaintiff in lawsuits brought by New York-based securities law firm Milberg, formerly known as Milberg Weiss.
U.S. District Judge John F. Walter also ordered Vogel to pay a fine of $4,000 as part of the sentence meted out this week after he pleaded guilty in August 2006 to one count of making a false statement in federal court, according to Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California based in Los Angeles. Earlier he forfeited $2 million and paid back taxes of $550,000 as part of the plea agreement. U.S. v. Vogel, No. 06-00320.
Vogel admitted serving as plaintiff or having relatives serve as plaintiffs in 40 cases brought by Milberg Weiss between 1991 and 2005, and he provided federal prosecutors with information that helped them indict the firm and its leaders in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
The law firm admitted paying Vogel $2.5 million as part of its own nonprosecution agreement reached earlier this year. Federal prosecutors had charged the firm and seven former partners with conspiracy, mail fraud and money laundering for paying kickbacks to plaintiffs in cases that the government said brought in $251 million in tainted fees. The firm settled the case in June by agreeing to pay $75 million.
Milberg Weiss had been led by Bill Lerach and Melvyn Weiss. Lerach left in 2004 to found the firm now known as Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins.
Lerach earlier was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison and Weiss to 30 months for their roles in the scheme.