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According to the Wall Street Journal of Saturday/Sunday (Dec. 13-14) one of the persons who lost money in the alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme of Bernard Madoff is New York's Melvyn Weiss, former co-head of the now-defunct New York/San Diego law firm Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach. Several partners of the firm, including Weiss and Lerach, have pleaded guilty to a number of charges related to a kickback scheme with clients, and have been sentenced to prison. Weiss was sentenced to 30 months of incarceration in June. Lerach was sentenced to two years in February. The firm was the scourge of the business community, filing class action suits against companies that reported unfavorable results. Many settled without going to court, and the firm raked in billions. The law firm split into separate New York and San Diego firms in 2004. According to media, Madoff has admitted that his investment scheme was a Ponzi that took possibly $50 billion from victims, including wealthy investors, charities and hedge funds. The only time I spoke with Weiss was in 1999, when I learned that the law firm had sued one of its own clients. The company, 4Kids Entertainment, had been the law firm's first corporate client. Almost all the firm's activity was in suing companies on behalf of supposedly aggrieved investors -- not representing corporations. Good law firms have elaborate, often computerized systems for learning if there are any conflicts of interest in taking on cases. But Milberg Weiss blew that one. When I spoke with him in 1999, Weiss was very somber. I am sure he is more so today.

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Comments

JohnnyVegas Dec. 13, 2008 @ 3:14 p.m.

Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

For the record, Milberg is still in business.

http://www.milberg.com/firm/firm.aspx

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Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2008 @ 4:29 p.m.

Response to post #1: Yes, Milberg LLP is. In fact, one of the lawyers representing Madoff victims is from Milberg LLP. It's a successor to Milberg Weiss, but in my judgment, the old Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach essentially went out of business with the breakup in 2004. The firm that Lerach then set up in San Diego is still in business -- without Lerach's name on the door, of course. Best, Don Bauder

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concernedcitizen77 Dec. 13, 2008 @ 4:48 p.m.

What?

Lerach is not practicing law from Modoc?

Such injustice!

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amayer Dec. 13, 2008 @ 4:55 p.m.

I invested 200000 with the Union Bank of California with Corperated Funding. I lost I trusted the bank and now I have to pay for it. Dora Sue theloan officier from Union Bank of California was the one in charge of making me invest the money with these scamers. amayer@mayersd.com

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JohnnyVegas Dec. 13, 2008 @ 5:19 p.m.

Lerach is not practicing law from Modoc?

Lerach should never be allowed to practice law again-but the State Bar is full of morons so there is a good chance he will (after he gets out of the joint).

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Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2008 @ 8:22 p.m.

Response to post #3: I'm sure he is not practicing law officially, but I'll bet he has something going. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2008 @ 8:25 p.m.

Response to post #4: Are you saying that you invested in Madoff's Ponzi scheme through the Union Bank of California? If so, please call me at 619-546-8529 or email me at don.bauder@mac.com. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2008 @ 8:28 p.m.

Response to post #5: Lerach doesn't have to practice law again. He raked in so much money squeezing corporations through Milberg Weiss that he will never have to work again, even after taking care of his ex-wives. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell Dec. 13, 2008 @ 11:27 p.m.

Lerach left Modoc. According to the prisoner locator, he's now wintering in Arizona.

http://www.bop.gov/iloc2/LocateInmate.jsp

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Burwell Dec. 13, 2008 @ 11:30 p.m.

Duke Cunningham is wintering in Tucson.

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Don Bauder Dec. 14, 2008 @ 6:03 a.m.

Response to post #9: White collar prisoners live a good life. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Dec. 14, 2008 @ 6:22 a.m.

Response to post #10: Did you notice that Madoff, who according to media reports confessed to a $50 billion Ponzi scheme, was released on $10 million bail. Released? Will he head to the Caribbean?

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JohnnyVegas Dec. 14, 2008 @ 9:09 a.m.

Lerach left Modoc. According to the prisoner locator, he's now wintering in Arizona.

http://www.bop.gov/iloc2/LocateInmate.js...

By Burwell 11:27 p.m., Dec 13, 2008

Burwell!, good call.....an inamte locater!

I am afraid to ask how you knew about that link.

Name Register # Age-Race-Sex Release Date Location 1. WILLIAM S LERACH 46683-112 62-White-M 03-08-2010 SAFFORD FCI

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JohnnyVegas Dec. 14, 2008 @ 9:16 a.m.

Response to post #3: I'm sure he is not practicing law officially, but I'll bet he has something going. Best, Don Bauder

By dbauder 8:22 p.m., Dec 13, 2008

You're a smart man Don. An interesting aside to your witty comment-

Back in the mid 1990's Patrick Frega (yes, the same Patrick Frega that won a multi million dollar legal malpractice lawsuit against settlement mill lawyer Sam Spital, which put Spital out of business and covered by the Reader) had been disbarred and Bill Lerach had hired Frega to perform "paralegal" duties at the San Diego office of Milberg Weiss.

Only problem was Frega was in actuality practicing law on his (at that time) suspended law license (now disbarred).

Some lawyers at Milberg told Lerach that he was violating the law and legal ethics, for which they were promptly fired.

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Don Bauder Dec. 14, 2008 @ 9:46 a.m.

Response to post #13: Good sleuthing by Burwell. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas Dec. 14, 2008 @ 12:48 p.m.

OMG-Check out this resort that former civil rights lawyer Stephen Yagman is spending time (in North Caroline)-it looks like a friggen 4 star hotel!

http://www.bop.gov/locations/institutions/but/index.jsp

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Don Bauder Dec. 14, 2008 @ 4:40 p.m.

Response to post # 16: Does it beat Lompoc for comfort? Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 Dec. 15, 2008 @ 1:34 p.m.

Actually Don, all of Wall Street looks like a Ponzi scheme.

It's time for Congress to lead the way and set an example that is long overdue, accept responsibility and accountability that they pontificate to others with at least a 25% cut in their own pay and benefits. That ought to start the country back on the road to recovery.

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Don Bauder Dec. 15, 2008 @ 3:08 p.m.

Response to post #18: Yes, Madoff is just the tip of the Ponzi scheme iceberg in the financial services industry, sometimes simply called "Wall Street." Many more Ponzis will surface in this market. Mendacity is ubiquitous on Wall Street. I will never forget one source telling me, "There is an old saying on Wall Street. You only do business with those you know, and still you get cheated once in awhile. If you ever do business with those you don't know, you get cheated every time." Best, Don Bauder

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