Lozow talks with feds
Defense attorney linked to illegal kickback scheme
By James Paton
Rocky Mountain News
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Prominent Denver defense lawyer Gary Lozow is talking with
the federal prosecutors who have accused law firm Milberg
Weiss Bershad & Schulman of engaging in an illegal kickback
scheme, his lawyer said. Lozow has been linked to Howard
Vogel, a retired real estate mortgage broker who recently
admitted that he and his family received nearly $2.5 million
in improper payments from the class-action law firm in
return for being the lead plaintiff in lawsuits filed
against various companies, including Valero Energy.
Vogel said in court papers he enlisted the help of a Denver
attorney, identified only as "Intermediary A," to collect
The U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles said the New York
law firm funneled the money through the Denver lawyer to
conceal the secret fee-sharing arrangement.
The Denver attorney who served as the middleman, according
to a report in the
Recorder, a California legal newspaper, is Lozow.
Lozow, a graduate of Indiana University and the University
of Denver law school, is accustomed to being in the
He's played a role in a slew of front-page cases in recent
years, representing figures such as former Qwest
Communications executive Marc Weisberg, the family of Dylan
Klebold after the Columbine High School shootings, and a
former Episcopalian priest who was sent to prison for
sexually assaulting two boys and faces a new trial.
In 2003, he defended a Saudi man, Naif Al-Yousif, who was
charged in Denver with the murder of a fellow Saudi student.
A bio on the Web site of his company in Denver, Isaacson
Rosenbaum, quotes him as saying, "The bottom line is every
client deserves his attorney's best ethical effort, no
matter who the client is."
Stephen Peters, a Lindquist & Vennum lawyer and a former
assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Colorado who
worked with Lozow on the Weisberg case, called Lozow an
"honest, extraordinarily dogged, hard-working lawyer."
Lawyer John Walsh of Hill & Robbins, who is representing
Lozow, neither confirmed nor denied the relationship between
Vogel and Lozow that was cited in the
But he said that Lozow has been working with the U.S.
attorney for the Central District of California for "some
Walsh, also based in Denver, said he could not comment
beyond that because of "pending legal activity."
Milberg Weiss and two of its partners were charged this
month with giving kickbacks to clients for serving as lead
plaintiffs. Prosecutors said the firm received more than
$200 million in attorneys' fees from the lawsuits and dished
out $11.3 million in illegal payments through lawyers who
served as intermediaries.
The firm defended itself in a statement on its Web site.
"The government's allegations of wrongdoing have been
categorically denied by the indicted partners," it said,
"and the firm intends to join with them in vigorously
defending against the charges."
In the latest twist, Los Angeles attorney Richard Purtich
admitted that he illegally accepted money from the law firm
and passed it on to plaintiff Steven Cooperman.
It's unclear what kind of conversation Lozow is having with
Thom Mrozek, public affairs officer for the U.S. attorney in
Los Angeles, declined to comment.
In mid-1992, Milberg told Vogel he needed to find a lawyer
to take the money on his behalf because paying him directly
could be a possible conflict of interest, the legal papers
state. This was "established practice," partners told Vogel,
according to the documents.
After the discussion, Vogel found an attorney in Denver to
accept the money, the papers reveal.
In one late-2003 example, Milberg sent checks to the lawyer,
who in turn wired about $1.2 million to Vogel, according to
the court file.
patonj@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-892-2544