Former Swiss banker Bradley Birkenfeld received a nice gift from the Internal Revenue Service today for blowing the whistle on the Swiss bank UBSAG and thousands of American tax cheats. The IRS gave the whistleblower $104 million for exposing the widespread tax evasion at the Swiss bank.
Birkenfeld’s lawyers, Stephen M. Kohn and Dean A. Zerbe, said in a statement:
“The IRS today sent 104 million messages to whistleblowers around the world — that there is now a safe and secure way to report tax fraud and that the IRS is now paying awards… The IRS also sent 104 million messages to banks around the world — stop enabling tax cheats or you will get caught.”
IRS spokeswoman Michele Eldridge told Fox News:
“The IRS believes that the whistleblower statute provides a valuable tool to combat tax non-compliance, and this award reflects our commitment to the law.”
The NY Daily News reports that UBS was fined $780 million after Birkenfeld’s testimony in 2007. The bank also agreed to give up the names of 5,000 Americans who were evading their taxes.
Birkenfeld may have just received the largest payout ever from the IRS, but it hasn’t been all clear sailing for the former banker. The 47-year-old banker was convicted for fraud for his own illegal dealings with UBS. Birkenfeld was sentenced to four years in prison but was released two and a half years into his sentence for good behavior.