A retired mortgage broker from New Jersey recently pleaded guilty to taking $2.5 million in illegal kickbacks from securities law firm Milberg Weiss and lying about it, according to Reuters.Howard Vogel was charged and entered his plea to one count of making a false declaration before a court in documents filed April 28 by the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles. In the agreement, Reuters said Mr. Vogel admitted to falsely denying having a secret deal to take a portion of legal fees earned by the firm in exchange for serving, or inducing family members to serve, as plaintiffs in about 40 suits between 1991 and 2005. The firm, which split in two in 2004, said it continues to cooperate fully with the investigation. According to Reuters, Mr. Vogel, who signed the plea deal, is the third person to be charged in connection with a five-year-old investigation of Milberg Weiss, a prominent securities law firm. He is the first to plead guilty, and has agreed to cooperate with federal investigators as part of a plea agreement. The investigation centers on whether the law firm made illegal payments to clients who agreed to act as plaintiffs in the firm's prolific lawsuits against publicly traded companies. Mr. Vogel faces up to five years in prison and agreed to pay $2 million in fines.

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