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David J. Bershad, who was formerly a name partner with New York-based Milberg Weiss & Bershad, agreed Monday to plead guilty to a federal conspiracy charge that he worked with other people to conceal illegal payments to plaintiffs in class action and shareholder derivative lawsuits, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles said. Bershad, 67, agreed to forfeit $7.75 million, pay a fine of $250,000 and to cooperate in the U.S. government’s ongoing investigation and prosecution of individuals involved in the conspiracy, the U.S. attorney said in a release. Bershad, a resident of Montclair, N.J., was also charged Monday with conspiring to obstruct justice and make false statements under oath, the release said. The conspiracy charge to which Bershad pled guilty carries a maximum 5-year federal prison sentence. Attorneys for Bershad, including Cristina Arguedas of Arguedas, Cassman & Headley in Berkley, Calif., weren’t immediately available to comment. Federal prosecutors indicted Bershad, the former firm, and another name partner, Steven G. Schulman, for allegedly paying millions of dollars in secret illegal kickbacks to the plaintiffs in more than 150 cases over 20 years that provided the firm with more than $200 million. The firm, Schulman and two other defendants, attorney Paul T. Selzer, and one of the alleged plaintiffs, Seymour M. Lazar, have pleaded not guilty to the charges and are expected to go to trial on the 20-count indictment next January, the release said.

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