American prosecutors have stepped up their criminal probe of law firm Milberg Weiss, a specialist in class-action cases, and have given immunity to two former partners at the firm, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
The newspaper, citing unspecified lawyers close to the case, said a grand jury in Los Angeles heard secret testimony three weeks ago from Alan Schulman, one of the former partners who was granted immunity.
Milberg Weiss was implicated in a federal indictment unsealed in June against a client of the firm who allegedly accepted secret kickbacks to act as a plaintiff in more than 50 securities class-action suits. The law firm contends the payments were referral fees to other law firms that had been disclosed on tax documents.
Much of investigators’ scrutiny now appears to be centered on former Milberg Weiss partner William Lerach, a prominent litigator who left to form his own firm last year, The Journal reported.
Prosecutors have subpoenaed Lerach’s payment records and sought a sample of his handwriting, the newspaper said.
The newspaper said prosecutors have informed Lerach and two other former partners, David Bershad and Melvyn Weiss, that they could face indictment for conspiracy.