Weiss gets prison for legal scheme
By Greg Risling, AP
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
LOS ANGELES — Melvyn Weiss, the co-founder of a law firm known
for securities class-action suits, was sentenced Monday to 30
months in prison for his role in a lucrative lawsuit kickback
scheme targeting some of the largest corporations in the nation.
U.S. District Judge John F. Walter also ordered Weiss, 72, to
pay $9.7 million in forfeitures and $250,000 in fines.
In a prepared, handwritten statement read before sentencing,
Weiss apologized for his "wrongful conduct" and described his
conviction as a fall from grace.
"I promise you my contrition is profound and genuine," he said.
Weiss pleaded guilty to a racketeering-conspiracy charge in
April as part of an agreement with prosecutors.
Prosecutors had asked for a 33-month sentence. Weiss and
his attorneys had sought a reduced sentence, citing his age and
Authorities said the law firm made about $250 million over two
decades by filing legal actions on behalf of professional
plaintiffs who received $11.3 million in kickbacks.
Securities class-action suits involve shareholders who claim
they suffered losses because executives misled them about a
company's financial condition.