Melvyn Weiss

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Melvyn I. Weiss
Born (1935-08-01) August 1, 1935 (age 78)
Bronx, New York
Occupation Attorney

Melvyn I. Weiss (born August 1, 1935) is a former American attorney who co-founded the well-known plaintiff class action law firm Milberg Weiss. On March 20, 2008, Melvyn Weiss announced through his attorney that he would plead guilty to making illegal client kickbacks in exchange for an 18- to 33-month prison sentence and fines and restitution of $10 million.[1]

Career[edit]

In 1962, he was recalled during the Berlin Crisis and served for another year of active duty. After three years with another New York law firm where he practiced litigation, he co-founded the Milberg Weiss firm, which ultimately had offices throughout the country and practiced complex securities, anti-trust and consumer fraud actions predominantly representing plaintiffs in class-actions against major corporations.[2] Thereafter he handled, as a lead counsel, some of the largest complex actions in the country, such as the Washington Public Power Supply System, a municipal bond default case, which was then the largest ever in the country; the Michael Milken- Drexel Burnham case, dealing with the collapse of numerous companies, including savings and loans, as a result of the sale of junk bonds; Weiss’ efforts, along with the US government, led to a joint recovery of over 2 billion dollars. In addition, he was a lead counsel in numerous other major life insurance marketing fraud cases, such as the Tyco securities fraud case.[citation needed]

Bribery charges and incarceration[edit]

At one point Weiss dominated the market in securities class-action suits, in which investors who suffer losses typically claim that executives had misled them about a company's financial condition.[3]

On March 20, 2008, Melvyn Weiss announced through his attorney that he would plead guilty to making illegal client kickbacks in exchange for an 18- to 33-month prison sentence and fines and restitution of $10 million.[4]

Prior to his sentencing for what he admitted was “wrongful conduct,” and for which he was “profoundly sorry,” supporters had flooded the Federal court with over 275 letters detailing Weiss' philanthropic history, including $6.25 billion in settlements he helped win for Holocaust victims. Both the Federal judge hearing the case and U.S. Attorney called the support for Weiss “unprecedented.”

Weiss was sentenced to 30 months of incarceration on Monday June 2, 2008, where he served half of his sentence at the minimum security Federal Correctional Institution in Morgantown, West Virginia, with the remainder served under home confinement.[5]

Weiss is now on probation, and in 2010 he formed MIW Consulting, LCC, in Boca Raton, FL, to be available as a mediator or arbitrator in complex disputes.


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Martha Graybow (March 21, 2008). "US shareholder lawyer Melvyn Weiss to plead guilty". Reuters. 
  2. ^ | title = Inside a Class Action: The Holocaust and the Swiss Banks| first = Jane| last = Schapiro| publisher = Terrace Books| date = 2003 |
  3. ^ Koppel, Nathan (2008-03-21). "Class-Action King Weiss to Plead Guilty to Conspiracy". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  4. ^ Martha Graybow (March 21, 2008). "US shareholder lawyer Melvyn Weiss to plead guilty". Reuters. 
  5. ^ Edvard Pettersson (June 2, 2008). "Weiss Sentenced to 2½ Years for Kickback Scheme (Update1)". Bloomberg L.P. "Weiss, 72, must also forfeit $9.75 million and pay a fine of $250,000. He pleaded guilty April 2 to racketeering conspiracy, admitting he helped secretly pay a stable of plaintiffs to file suits from 1979 through 2005. By using them to sue first, the firm was more likely to lead cases and reap larger fees."