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Debra Wong Yang
United States Attorney
Central District of California


United States Courthouse
312 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
Release No. 06-065

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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 2006
For Information, Contact Public Affairs
Thom Mrozek (213) 894-6947

ATTORNEY AGREES TO PLEAD GUILTY TO TAX CHARGE RELATED TO ROLE AS SECRET INTERMEDIARY BETWEEN PAID PLAINTIFF AND MILBERG WEISS LAW FIRM


Los Angeles, CA - A Century City attorney was charged today with corruptly endeavoring to obstruct or impede the due administration of the Internal Revenue laws for acting as an conduit for secret payments made by Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP to compensate Steven G. Cooperman for serving as a paid plaintiff in numerous securities class actions.

Richard R. Purtich, 53, has agreed to plead guilty to the felony tax offense that was filed this afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles. Purtich has specifically agreed to plead guilty to impeding the due administration of Internal Revenue laws by, among other things, concealing from the IRS the fact that Cooperman received approximately $879,868 in income from Milberg Weiss in 1993. Purtich, who could be sentenced to as much as three years in prison for the offense, will be summoned for an arraignment next month.

In a plea agreement also filed today, Purtich admits that he and certain law firms with which he was associated received checks from Milberg Weiss totaling more than $3.5 million for the benefit of Cooperman between 1992 and 1996. Purtich admits that he and his law firms never made any referrals, performed any work, or did anything else to earn these payments from Milberg Weiss. Instead, as Purtich further admits, all these Milberg Weiss payments were in fact payments from Milberg Weiss to Cooperman, pursuant to the law firm’s agreement with Cooperman to pay him a portion of the attorneys’ fees that Milberg Weiss obtained in class actions in which Cooperman served as or provide a named plaintiff. Purtich admits that he failed to report or disclose to the IRS that Cooperman was the true beneficiary of the Milberg Weiss payments. Instead, Purtich caused the Milberg Weiss payments to be falsely reported to the IRS as income of Purtich and his associated law firms.

Last week, a federal grand jury in Los Angeles indicted Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP and two name partners in the firm on federal conspiracy, fraud and money laundering charges, see: http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/cac/news/pr2006/061.html.

The case against Purtich is the result of an ongoing investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service and IRS Criminal Investigation Division.

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Release No. 06-065

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