Melvyn Weiss to plead guilty

U.S. class-action lawyer Melvyn Weiss, famed for suing large corporations on behalf of investors, will plead guilty in a criminal case contending his firm paid secret kickbacks to plaintiffs in lawsuits, his lawyer said on Thursday.

A source familiar with the matter told that Weiss, who had been set to go on trial in August, would plead guilty to a sole count of racketeering.

Under a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in Los Angeles, Weiss could receive a prison sentence ranging from 18 to 33 months, his lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said in a statement. Weiss has agreed to pay $10 million in fines and forfeiture, Brafman said.

Melvyn I. Weiss is an American attorney who co-founded the well-known plaintiff class action law firm Milberg Weiss.

Founded in 1965 by attorneys Larry Milberg and Melvyn I. Weiss, Milberg Weiss is a U.S. plaintiffs' law firm. Based in New York City, it is widely known for representing investors in securities class actions. Before its split in May 2004, it was the largest plaintiff law firm in the United States, with over 200 attorneys and a leader in its field, responsible, at least in part, for over 50 percent of all securities class action cases settled in 2002.