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Milberg Kickback Defendant Gets Short Reprieve From PrisonThe last defendant to report to prison in the Milberg kickback case, former lead plaintiff Howard Vogel, has gotten his surrender date extended. Previously given a delay for medical reasons, Vogel says he was wrongfully headed for a low-security level prison due to a dismissed domestic violence allegation stemming from an argument with his wife. Prosecutors alleged Milberg and several partners obtained $251 million in attorney fees by paying kickbacks to plaintiffs. The firm paid $75 million to settle charges.
The National Law Journal2009-01-16 12:00:00 AM
The last defendant to report to federal prison in the criminal kickback case against Milberg LLP, Howard J. Vogel, has received an extension of his surrender date to Jan. 28.
Vogel, a former lead plaintiff for the New York firm, was scheduled to begin serving a sentence of three months on Wednesday. That date had been granted after he requested a delay from an original surrender date of Nov. 19, in part to allow "time to undergo certain medical procedures."
This time, Vogel asserts that the Federal Bureau of Prisons wrongfully designated him as an inmate requiring a low-security level prison, rather than a camp facility, due to a dismissed allegation of domestic violence in 2005 stemming from an argument he had with his wife.
The motion said that "should Mr. Vogel be sent to a low-security prison facility, he will suffer a punishment worse than that visited on the lawyers from Milberg Weiss, the principal wrongdoers in this case, who have been placed in camps."
Pushing back his surrender date would give him time to clear up the misunderstanding, he said in court papers.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge John F. Walter of the Central District of California granted the extension and recommended Vogel be placed in a camp facility.
Vogel is the final defendant to report to prison as part of an investigation in which federal prosecutors alleged that Milberg and several of its partners obtained $251 million in attorney fees by paying kickbacks to lead plaintiffs. The firm agreed to pay $75 million to settle charges last year. Another defendant, Steven Schulman, a former partner at Milberg, began serving a sentence of six months in prison on Tuesday.