Whistleblower Gets $104 Million

Former UBS AG banker Bradley Birkenfeld helped the U.S. government uncover an international tax evasion scheme and was awarded $104 million. It is believed that this is the largest whistle-blower payout given to an individual.

Laura Saunders from the Wall Street Journal wrote, “… Birkenfeld, 47 years old, began cooperating with U.S. authorities in 2007, while still at UBS. He provided prosecutors with detailed descriptions of the bank’s efforts to promote tax evasion and confessed to running errands for rich clients, including one instance when he sneaked diamonds into the U.S. in a toothpaste tube.”

UBS turned over the names of 4,000 account holders and paid $780 million to resolve the criminal case. In addition 33,000 U.S. taxpayers have confessed to having undeclared overseas accounts and paid more than $5 billion in taxes and penalties. Even Birkenfeld plead guilty to one account of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and is serving out his 40 month sentence in home confinement.

This shows the new lengths the U.S. government is welling to go to collect unpaid taxes.