Prisoner Becomes Millionaire: IRS Whistleblower Awarded $104 Million
Relator Bradley Birkenfeld will receive a $104 million award, for his part in revealing UBS Bank’s illegal offshore banking scheme. It is believed to be the largest award to an individual Relator and the first major award under the IRS Whistleblower Act. Birkenfeld will have to settle for online shopping for the time being as he is currently finishing out his felony sentence for his part in the scheme, including smuggling diamonds in a toothpaste tube, at home.
The IRS applauded Mr. Birkenfeld for identifying taxpayer behavior that they were otherwise unable to detect and described the information he provided as comprehensive in both its breadth and depth. As a result of the investigation kicked off by Mr. Birkenfeld’s Complaint, UBS paid a $780,000,000 fine, 35,000 taxpayers voluntarily repatriated illegal accounts under an amnesty program, and recovered $5 billion in back taxes. Additionally, the Swiss were forced to change their tax treaty with the United States resulting in them turning over the names of 4,900 taxpayers’ who are now under investigation for their illegal accounts.
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