Remember Bradley Birkenfeld? He’s the guy who single-handedly made the government’s case against UBS and forced the Swiss bank to hand over the names of thousands of tax cheats, which resulted in the US scoring $780 million from UBS and may have inspired some 33,000 Americans to “voluntarily disclose offshore accounts to the IRS, generating more than $5 billion.” And yet, despite his assistance, Birkenfeld wasn’t immediately thanked for a job well done. Instead, he was sentenced to forty months in prison (fair-ish, considering he showed a few clients how to avoid paying taxes himself) and told to piss off by the Internal Revenue Service, from whom he sought an award, because he was “not forthcoming about his own role in the scheme,” even as a Justice Department attorney admitted that “…without Mr. Birkenfeld walking into the door of the Department of Justice in the summer of 2007, I doubt as of today that this massive fraud would have been discovered by the US government” (or as his lawyer put it, “They didn’t know how to spell UBS until he showed up. He didn’t just give them a piece of the puzzle. He gave them the entire puzzle”). Now, after doing 32 months at Schuylkill Federal Correctional Institution, getting let out early on account of “good-time credit,” and living in a halfway house in New Hampshire, Birkenfeld has finally been thrown a bone.

Bradley Birkenfeld, the former UBS AG banker who told the Internal Revenue Service how the bank helped thousands of Americans evade taxes, secured an IRS award of $104 million, an amount his lawyers said may be the largest ever for a U.S. whistle-blower. Birkenfeld told authorities how UBS bankers came to the U.S. to woo rich Americans, managed $20 billion of their assets, and helped them cheat the IRS. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy in 2008, a year after reporting the bank’s conduct to the Justice Department, U.S. Senate, IRS and Securities and Exchange Commission. He was released from prison Aug. 1…Birkenfeld, 47, worked at Zurich-based UBS, the largest Swiss bank, for five years. He sought a reward from the IRS of as much as 30 percent of any taxes the agency recovered as a result of his whistle-blowing activities.

Clearly this whole thing should stir up a few questions inside you all, chief among them: how much money would it take to get you to befriend or or take a job with some known rogue individuals so that you might later blow the whistle on them? Would you do any time for it? If so, how much? And are we talking Club Fed or a place where your roommate insists on cuddling?

UBS Whistle-Blower Secures $104 Million Award From IRS [Bloomberg]

117 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (117)

  1. Posted by guest | September 11, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    Stop Snitchin'.

    – C. Anthony, UBS Director of Compliance

  2. Posted by Guest | September 11, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    Snitches get stitches.

  3. Posted by Bandersnatch | September 11, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    $104 mm is a nice sum of money. However, you'll need to pay a lot of taxes on that unless you have a good Swiss bank show you a few things. Give us a call.
    – UBS

  4. Posted by B B | September 11, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    I'm telling.

  5. Posted by Little Spoon | September 11, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    why the edit from 'where your roommate spoons you every night' to 'where your roommate insists on cuddling' ?

  6. Posted by pazzo83 | September 11, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    And if you actually want to avoid losing all of that money in the next 6 months you'll give US a call.

    – Credit Suisse

  7. Posted by pazzo83 | September 11, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    "They didn’t know how to spell UBS"

    Sounds about right.

    – US Gov't Competence Analyst

  8. Posted by Anon | September 11, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    When are those new clamps gonna get here? These are all rusted-out with snitch juice!

    –Francis X. Clampazzo

  9. Posted by Boink | September 11, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    I still don't know how to spell USB!

    – UBS Speling Quatn

  10. Posted by Guest | September 11, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    He looks like the guy from Reno911.

  11. Posted by guest | September 11, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    birkenfeld gonna get his upon release

  12. Posted by guest | September 11, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    i happen to think club fed = spooning / cuddling; real prison = gang rape

    -guy who could spoon and / or cuddle for the right price

  13. Posted by guest | September 11, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    dk what my reservation price is, but if i have to cuddle with raj it would be in excess of $100mm

  14. Posted by BessLevin | September 11, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Because I decided I preferred the way the latter sounded instead? It also leaves a lot more possibilities in terms of visualizing.

  15. Posted by Guest | September 11, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    The good news is: judgement was for $104mm. The bad news is: internationl legal fees just came in for $105mm

  16. Posted by Annoying old boss | September 11, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    Are you asking me or telling me?

  17. Posted by CFA Level 4 | September 11, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    UBS doesn't, suck?

    – Confused Guest

  18. Posted by Mr Sparkle | September 11, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Somebody needs to warsh his mouth out….with detergent.

  19. Posted by Guest | September 11, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Apparently Snitches get Bitches

  20. Posted by Guest | September 11, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Expect a claw-back in November you cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit!


  21. Posted by guest | September 11, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    what bonehead thinks he's going to blow the lid of a tax scheme that big and have his own involvement in it never come to light? the smart guy would have had his lawyer pre-negotiate immunity for a reduced claim on recoveries. a little less rich, but no prison.

  22. Posted by Guest | September 11, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    In all fairness if I worked at UBS I would trade 32 months in prison for a bonus that could never be had if I still worked at UBS.

  23. Posted by zoroz | September 11, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    Has he been paying estimated taxes on his earnings while serving in the federal system? Thanks,
    – IRS Assistant Commissioner

  24. Posted by guest | September 11, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    if by "get his" you mean mediterranean or carribean compound, private jet, 24 hour security, etc, then yes, probably.

  25. Posted by F this spreadsheet | September 11, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    Forget getting into an H/Y/P, GS, or a top hedge fund. Whistleblowing bonus is the NKI.

  26. Posted by Guest | September 11, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    Just went to see what you mean, and think he comes across more as Jim Cramer.

  27. Posted by Mark Zuckerberg | September 11, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    Ahhhh! MISTAH SPAHKLE!!!!

  28. Posted by Guestin | September 11, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    For $104mm… So be it

  29. Posted by Jay | September 11, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Anyone else see the resemblance to Jim Cramer?

  30. Posted by Momentus | September 11, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    "Where's my dollahs?"


  31. Posted by Sir Real | September 11, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    More along the lines of Paul Giamatti.

  32. Posted by Incitatus | September 11, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Doesn't apply here, but that's the really fun thing about Dodd-Frank: You can be actively involved in the wrongdoing, and you still get paid as a whistle-blower. Brilliant!

    -Dude that CANNOT BELIEVE that online CPE course actually came in handy

  33. Posted by Guest | September 11, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    40 months and $100 million? Respect.

    – S. Dogg

  34. Posted by UBS MD | September 11, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    were not really allowed to comment on this, but the real trade is to go long whistle makers.

    this guy is gonna go crazy when he get off parole

  35. Posted by Dismissive guy | September 11, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    you can't be either without the BS

  36. Posted by The Government | September 11, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    We gotta do something with this fucking AIG cash …

  37. Posted by Shawshank warden | September 11, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    Schuylkill Federal Correctional Institution sounds kinda madeup.

  38. Posted by folksy guy | September 11, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    way to ruin warsh right away….


  39. Posted by William Tell | September 11, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    I do a better trumpet.

  40. Posted by feign confused guy | September 11, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    so which of these do you enjoy visualizing

  41. Posted by Little Spoon | September 11, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    That's fair. Thank you.

  42. Posted by guesticles | September 11, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    I like to picture DB readers and their would-be cell buddy cuddling in the pretzel position– facing each other, both legs and arms intertwined.

    oh sorry- were you not asking me?

  43. Posted by Guest | September 11, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    Turning states evidence the NKI!

  44. Posted by IRScube | September 11, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    Can you be a whistle blower, whistle blower
    Let me know
    I'm gonna pay you monies to do it
    but the bid starts low
    You just put 2 and 2 together
    and tell me how the evasion flows
    Can you be a whistle blower, whistle blower
    Here we go

  45. Posted by Glad I. Left | September 11, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Now you know how to get paid at UBS!!!
    Break out a few more of those sekletons and cash in!!!!!!!!

  46. Posted by The Chinese | September 11, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Hey !

  47. Posted by guest | September 11, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    Cause spooning leads to forking.

  48. Posted by Guest | September 11, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    I tried to report the activities going on at my firm, but the SEC said they need video footage.

    -Patriarch Partners Analyst

  49. Posted by un ospite | September 12, 2012 at 4:54 AM

    seriously there's a good question here: is a $104mm award from the IRS taxable income?

  50. Posted by Brudda | September 12, 2012 at 8:07 AM

    For $3.25mm a month, I think I'd do the 32 months and spend the time thinking about how I'd spend the money on release. Even better, because he didn't know he would be getting the cash, he'd have found out who his real friends are, rather than being surrounded by freeloaders.

  51. Posted by reductionist | September 12, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    I tink I can simplify this for you guys who seem to be equivocating a bit here.


  52. Posted by shackles flamazo | September 12, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    i don't see it, more like the love child of gandolfini and kaizer soze

    – geneology quant

  53. Posted by The Grand Marquis | September 12, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    this is the new UBS compensation plan: (1) commit crimes for base, (2) blow whistle, (3) collect from government. jail time and looking like Lurch from the Adams family are optional

  54. Posted by Guest | September 12, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    Get with the times, homie

    – S. Lion

  55. Posted by Horatio Hornblower | September 13, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    Perhaps he learned to play the rusty trombone in prison after mastering the blowing of the whistle.

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