LOS ANGELES – A federal judge has sentenced Steven G. Cooperman and Paul Selzer, the last two individuals in the government’s criminal kickback case against Milberg, to four months in prison and six months of home detention, respectively.
The case had alleged that Milberg, formerly called Milberg Weiss, and seven of its partners obtained $251 million in attorney fees by making secret and illegal kickbacks to lead plaintiffs in shareholder and class action case. Earlier this year, William Lerach, who left Milberg in 2004 to form his own firm, was sentenced to 24 months, and Melvyn Weiss, co-founding partner of Milberg, was sentenced to 30 months.
Last week, U.S. District Judge John Walter, of the Central District of California, sentenced two other former Milberg lawyers, David Bershad and Steven Schulman, each to six months in prison.
On Monday, Walter sentenced Selzer to six months of home detention and ordered him to pay a $250,000 fine.
Paul Selzer, the last defendant to plead guilty in the Milberg case, admitted this summer that he filed false documents with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). As part of the deal, he agreed to an unspecified period of home detention.
Selzer is a former lawyer for Seymour Lazar, a lead plaintiff in several of Milberg’s cases who pleaded guilty last year to one count of filing false tax returns and one count of obstruction of justice. Selzer admitted that the law firms where he worked received about $1 million from 1984 to 2001 from Milberg in payments earmarked for Lazar that were not reported as income to the IRS.
Earlier this year, Lazar, who is in poor health, was sentenced to two years of probation, including six months of home detention.
According to a sentencing memo filed last week, federal prosecutors had asked the judge to sentence Selzer, an environmental lawyer who has forfeited his law license, to six months of home detention.