A former UBS banker has received a $104 million whistleblower award from the IRS, the largest reward in U.S. history. Bradley Birkenfeld had described for the U.S. Justice Department how the larges Swiss bank had come to the U.S. to woo rich Americans into allowing the company to help them shields their assets from the IRS.
Birkenfeld’s information helped pave the way for a 2009 settlement between the U.S. government and UBS under which the bank agreed to pay $780 million in penalties and turn over the account information of thousands of American clients. Since then, over 35,000 Americans have since participated in amnesty programs to repatriate their offshore accounts, netting the government over $5 billion in back taxes, fines and penalties.
By law, whistleblowers can collect up to 30% of what the IRS recovers as a result of their tips. “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 agency said in a statement.
Birkenfeld’s brother Douglas read a statement on his behalf at a press conference in Washington Tuesday, calling the reward “truly gratifying.” “This is the day I thought would never come,” Birkenfeld’s statement read. “I single-handedly transformed centuries of illicit Swiss private banking practices, but I paid a huge price for being the only person to have the courage to come forward.”
The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have previously represented an IRS whistleblower who received substantial rewards from the government totaling nearly $2 million. If you have information regarding fraud or other wrongdoing against the government or a government agency, you may be entitled to a large cash reward. To find out if you are eligible, call us toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or fill out our free online case evaluation form, and one of our representatives will contact you for more information.